Congress voted in September 2009 to cut off federal funding for ACORN -- the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now - after evidence surfaced that employees of the community organization and activism group had fraudulently registered non-qualified voters in several states. ACORN-employed community counselors were also videotaped advising people posing as a pimp and a prostitute on how to get a mortgage loan to open a brothel.
On March 10, 2010, Federal Judge Nina Gershon agreed, finding that Congress had punished ACORN without proper judicial process. In her decision, Gershon wrote that Congress cannot "rely on the negative results of a congressional or executive report as a rationale to impose a broad, punitive funding ban on a specific, named organization."
The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, however, overturned Judge Gershon's ruling, basically finding that getting federal funding is a privilege not a right.
"The withholding of funds may arguably constitute a punitive confiscation of property at some point, but the plaintiffs (ACORN) do not assert here that they have property rights to federal funds that have yet to be disbursed at the agency's discretion," wrote Judge Roger Miner in the Court of Appeals' decision.
According to a Government Accountability Office report, ACORN received approximately $40.4 million in grants from nine federal agencies during 2005 through 2009.