A bill introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature to investigate the activities of the controversial Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now -- ACORN -- is stalled in the powerful State Government Committee.
The chairman, State Representative Babette Josephs, a Philadelphia Democrat, is a member of ACORN.
The revelation of Chairman Joseph's ACORN ties came in a now long-forgotten April 3, 2008 hearing of the House State Government Committee. The hearing took place at 9:05 in the morning in room 205 of the Ryan Office Building in the State Capitol Complex in Harrisburg. The purpose of the hearing was to discuss the upcoming (April 22nd) Pennsylvania primary election preparations with Governor Ed Rendell's Secretary of the Commonwealth, Pedro Cortes. As Cortes was being questioned by Committee members, there was this exchange, released in the official Committee transcript, between Berks County (Reading) Representative Carl Mantz, a Republican, and Chairman Josephs:
REPRESENTATIVE MANTZ: Yes. In my own county, there have been news reports in my county, Berks County, Lehigh County, in my district and also Philadelphia, about allegations respecting the activities of the ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. And allegations have been made that ACORN and its employees have submitted fraudulent voter registrations. Number one , I guess my question is, is it legal for Pennsylvania, in this state, to compensate individuals or voters, each voter registration that a person -- I understand that that's apparently -- I don't believe that's -- I see Al Masland has left, and I apologize. I'm not as familiar with the statute in that respect.
CHAIR JOSEPHS: Mr. Mantz, we can get the answer to you,but I would like to say that I am a member of ACORN, and they do not do that.
On July 30th of 2009, Representative Stephen Barrar, a Republican from Chester and Delaware counties who does not serve on Josephs' State Government Committee, introduced House Resolution 426. The bill, referred to the State Government Committee, calls for a formal request from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to the state attorney general to investigate ACORN. Josephs, in her role as chairman, controls the committee. The bill has gone nowhere, leading to the belief by legislative sources that Josephs is using her power as chairman of the State Government Committee to protect the controversial group of which she herself is a member.
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