The Danger Of Bad Bill-Writing
Ryan Grim has an amusing report about the unintended consequences in the conservative attempt to embarrass ACORN:
Going after ACORN may be like shooting fish in a barrel lately -- but jumpy lawmakers used a bazooka to do it last week and may have blown up some of their longtime allies in the process.
The congressional legislation intended to defund ACORN, passed with broad bipartisan support, is written so broadly that it applies to "any organization" that has been charged with breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws, campaign finance laws or filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency. It also applies to any of the employees, contractors or other folks affiliated with a group charged with any of those things.
In other words, the bill could plausibly defund the entire military-industrial complex. Whoops.
Alan Grayson is all over this, with a list of defense contractor misconduct at the ready.
So conservatives have two choices - let the ACORN bill wither on the grounds that it's an unconstitutional bill of attainder, or push it forward and open it up to about a decade's worth of Alan Grayson filing motions to deny funds to Northrop Grumman or Blackwater or whoever. The establishment would probably just prefer this gets swallowed up in conference, but from a political standpoint that would be the worst thing to do because it lets Republicans off the hook. If they really want to stop tax dollars from going to fraudulent companies, then game on.