"New York Gov. David Paterson ordered state agencies Friday to put a 30-day hold on contracts with the community organizing group ACORN and its affiliate, New York Agency for Community Affairs.
In a memo, the Budget Division cited Paterson's "continued efforts to ensure fiscal accountability and integrity," directing the agencies to report "any potential issues."
In Washington, the House and Senate separately voted this week to deny all federal funds for ACORN in a GOP-led strike against the liberal-leaning group, which was accused last year of submitting some false voter registration forms in a massive voter-registration drive.
The votes followed a video released Monday. It showed two ACORN employees in Brooklyn apparently advising a couple posing as a pimp and prostitute to lie about her profession and launder her earnings in applying for housing help.
ACORN national spokesman Scott Levenson said the two employees were suspended while the organization worked to reconstruct the actual exchange caught on tape, saying the group believed the conversation was dubbed over to make it appear more objectionable.
ACORN chief executive Bertha Lewis said Wednesday they were naming an independent auditor to review all their organizations, relevant systems and processes.
In New York, the group has received at least $1.8 million in state funding since 2003 and has at least one open state contract for $365,000 to provide mortgage foreclosure counseling.
Pat Boone, president of NY ACORN, said the group welcomed Paterson's review, saying it was confident were confident it will show every dollar went directly to fighting the foreclosure crisis and helping thousands of New Yorkers get access to the earned income tax credit. "For more than 30 years ACORN has given voice to low-income families throughout New York and gotten results," he said."
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