Republicans hammered Barack Obama over his connection to ACORN during last year’s election, but now ACORN is taking a swing at some Democrats — with the help of liberal activists at MoveOn.org.
The role reversal arises out of the groups’ anger at moderate House Democrats who opposed a housing bill that has more generous bankruptcy rules for people facing foreclosure.
Next week this coalition will begin airing TV ads criticizing House Democrats who voted against the measure, which would for the first time give judges the authority to restructure home mortgages — a procedure known as a cramdown.
The House last week voted 234-191 to pass the housing bill with the bankruptcy provision, but 24 Democrats, mostly moderates, voted against it. ACORN, a coalition of housing activists, has made this measure a top priority in the new Congress.
It is the first time ACORN and MoveOn.org have joined forces to target a lawmaker from either party. The organizations say that they are actively seeking out residents in the districts of Reps. Brad Ellsworth (D-Ind.), Baron Hill (D-Ind.), Marion Berry (D-Ark.), and Tim Holden (D-Pa.) who have lost their homes, so they can appear in TV ads asking their congressmen why they voted against the bill.
“We think it is significant that progressives are joining forces to hold congressional moderates accountable for their votes affecting working families,” ACORN Executive Director Steve Kest told POLITICO. “We think that it signals how seriously we take these issues in the face of the economic meltdown.”
The liberal coalition doesn’t seem to mind taking on Democrats, though it’s unclear if the ad campaign would extend to backing more liberal Democrats in primaries against moderates like Ellsworth and Hill next year.
"We were appalled to see some congressional Democrats side with Wall Street while families in their districts are struggling to stay in their homes," said Robert Greenwald, president of Brave New Foundation, an organization spearheading the effort. "That is just unconscionable."
Color of Change, an African-American organization, is helping to finance the ad buy. The groups did not specify how much will be spent on the effort.