Grant For Firefighters Goes To … ACORN?
Apparently the funds were intended to be used for the improvement of fire safety in low-income and poor households (e.g. adding smoke detectors). But somehow or another ACORN managed to beat other grant applicants for the funds, by a rather wide margin:
Nearly $1 million in Homeland Security funding typically earmarked for fire departments has been awarded to ACORN, despite a clear signal from Congress that it intends to cut off federal funding to the embattled group …
It was one of only three such grants issued to the state and made up almost 80 percent of the firefighting money earmarked for Louisiana, prompting one of the U.S. senators fr-m the state to demand that the funds be taken back.
That Senator, who cited the O’Keefe-Giles prostitution sting as a reason for revoking the grant, was David Vitter. Predictably, thanks to Vitter’s problems with fidelity, his involvement evoked this response:
When asked how the money would be spent, ACORN spokesman Brian Kettenring issued a statement criticizing the senator, who confessed in the past to having used an escort service.
“Senator Vitter knows a lot more about prostitution rings than anyone here does, so we’ll defer to him on any matters pertaining to the videos attacking ACORN,” the statement read. It did not explain how the group plans to spend the Federal Emergency Management Agency grant.
Had to see that one coming, didn’t you, Senator?
Nevertheless, how ACORN was able to secure a grant making up 80% of Louisiana’s firefighting money from the federal government is an awfully curious question. Considering that Congress has been systematically defunding the organization over the past several weeks, and that ACORN has no firefighting expertise to speak of, one wonders how other more deserving applicants were overlooked.
One such group might have been the St. Tammany Parish Fire District No. 3, which applied for a $120,000 grant to purchase smoke alarms for low-income families after a January fire killed four children in a home that had no working detectors.
“We wanted to buy smoke detectors to spread to homes all over the community to prevent that fr0m happening again,” Chief Charles Flynn said in an interview Tuesday.
“I have no problem with not getting a grant, I’ve lost grants before,” said Chief Flynn, one of the fire officials who complained to Mr. Vitter in a letter.
“My issue is ACORN in New Orleans. Their mission statement says nothing about fire safety or fire prevention. It bothered me that ACORN got $1 million and there are so many smaller and bigger departments that have a need for that money.”
The Monroe Fire Department was the only squad in Louisiana to receive a grant and will be awarded $192,000. The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office will receive $62,000.
ACORN received $997,402, slightly less than the maximum allowable grant of $1 million. A total of $35 million was available for the grants project to fire districts across the country this year.
This story just screams corruption with a capital “C”. I’m sure Congress will get right on that. [/sarcasm]
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