The "community organizing" group known as ACORN is back. You might remember them for the countless people they helped register to vote -- sometimes even registering Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, or the same person fifty times. The organization faced one criminal investigation after another, and yet it lives on.
The former Texas ACORN chapter has a new name and a scheme to collect donations and divert them for political use in a way that abuses tax laws governing charitable organizations, according to a Washington-based public interest group.
Cause of Action, a nonprofit taxpayer watchdog, charged in a letter to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration that the tax-exempt Texas Organizing Project (TOP), formed from the ashes of scandal-ridden ACORN, is using money funneled to it by a closely associated group called the Texas Organizing Project Education Fund for political activity.
The fund gave nearly 80 percent of its revenues -- approximately $640,000 -- to the advocacy group in 2010, leading Cause of Action officials to believe its reason for being is to raise charitable donations to send to TOP, which is permitted to fund political activity. TOP has used its website to solicit support for Mary Ann Perez, a Democrat running for state representative.