POLITICS
12/09/2014 10:35 pm ET Updated Dec 10, 2014

Tears Of Sisyphus: Republicans Resurrect ACORN, Only To Murder It. Again.

Win McNamee via Getty Images

WASHINGTON -- Great empires rise and fall, rise again. Byzantium survives in splendor as Rome collapses before the barbarian hordes.

So it has been with ACORN. So it shall be.

Fear not, America. House Republicans have resumed their war on the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, an anti-poverty nonprofit staffed by low-income people, a scant 4 1/2 years after the organization officially folded.

Truth be told, there are no signs of a resurgent ACORN. There have been no attempted coups at other nonprofits, no banners bearing the seal of the mighty oak's seed raised above the ramparts of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. By all accounts, the organization that shattered in the spring of 2010 remains in pieces.

And yet.

On Tuesday, House negotiators unveiled a bill to fend off a looming government shutdown that included the following ominous provision:

"None of the funds made available under this or any other Act, or any prior Appropriations Act, may be provided to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, allied organizations, or successors."

A mere four months ago, it appeared that the long Republican crusade against ACORN was at an end. None of the piecemeal House appropriations bills funding various parts of the government had included anti-ACORN language. The GOP, it seemed, was finally laying down arms against the phantom menace.

But the so-called cromnibus proves Republicans have not lost their resolve.

At this point in history, educated persons of all backgrounds are familiar with the saga of ACORN and the House GOP. But it is a good story, one that bears repeating.

Congress cut off federal funding for ACORN in late 2009, after a selectively edited video from conservative provocateur James O'Keefe appeared to show its employees aiding tax-dodging schemes for prostitution. Subsequent government investigations cleared ACORN of wrongdoing, but the PR blow proved fatal, and the organization closed in the spring of 2010.

The mere demise of ACORN, of course, didn't end the Republican assault. The House GOP over and over blocked federal funding to ACORN in appropriations bills, ultimately voting more than a dozen times to prevent the non-existent entity from receiving taxpayer money.

The most recent attack came in January, when House Republicans included four riders to prevent federal funds from flowing to ACORN in their omnibus appropriations bill. Jennifer Hing, a spokeswoman for the House Appropriations Committee explained to HuffPost in 2013 that the anti-ACORN language was essentially legislative boilerplate, routinely inserted into every appropriations bill that came out of a few subcommittees. Hing stopped responding to requests for comment on HuffPost's ACORN funding stories after four or five iterations, and declined to comment for this article as well.

There are plenty of controversial provisions in the cromnibus. Progressive Democrats are fuming over a provision that Wall Street lobbyists secured providing taxpayer backing for risky derivatives trades. Conservative Republicans believe the bill does not sufficiently punish President Barack Obama for his recent executive action shielding millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. The legislation may survive, and it may falter. All things must pass.

The war on ACORN shall endure.

HuffPost

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