Frank wanted to support ACORN funding ban (Come on Barney!)

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) on Wednesday clarified he intended to vote for the House amendment to block federal funding to ACORN — a vote he missed because he was at the White House for a Medal of Honor ceremony, he said.

The congressman later added that he had directed the chair of the House’s Financial Services Oversight Subcommittee “to be ready to hold a hearing” on ACORN as soon as more objective information is available.

Frank has fielded significant criticism in recent days for not voting on the ACORN amendment — a move many lawmakers and pundits assumed signaled his tacit support for the organization. A recent miscue with a member of his staff later resulted in a series of articles suggesting he would have actually voted against the proposal, he explained.

But Frank quieted those concerns on Wednesday, saying in no unclear terms that he “would have voted for the motion at that time.”

“I am very disappointed in the actions that were taken by members of ACORN, and I do not believe that ACORN’s response has been adequate for an organization that has received public funding,” he said in his statement.

Frank, however, added he remains committed to learning more about the organization’s history and conduct. In a letter on Tuesday also signed by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), he asked the Congressional Research Service for a full analysis of ACORN’s previous legal battles and the impacts of its work.

He also requested CRS research on whether the House and the Senate’s actions constituted a “bill of attainder” — an illegal punishment without trial that is explicitly forbidden by the constitution.

“There are questions about the constitutionality of Congress passing a law that singles out one organization, but the basic principle that ACORN should not now be receiving public funding is an important one,” Frank said, adding that he wanted to hold a hearing on the matter once more information was available.

“I have therefore urged the Obama administration to withhold any additional funding for ACORN at least until there is very firm evidence that the abuses of which ACORN members have been guilty have not only ceased, but that procedures are in place to prevent them from happening again,” he said.

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