UPDATED: Rep. Issa Runs With Fox's Anonymously Sourced "ACORN" Tie To Occupy Wall Street

November 07, 2011 4:56 pm ET — Matt Gertz

The ACORN-obsessed Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) is calling on U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch to investigate "reports" that New York Communities for Change has "engaged in fraud through its participation in the Occupy Wall Street protests." Issa apparently has no problem with the fact that the "reports" he is citing are based solely on Fox News' anonymous "sources," and were quickly denied by NYCC.

In the letter Issa sent today to Lynch, he calls NYCC "an organization closely tied to the now-defunct New York chapter" of ACORN, and discusses ACORN's "long history of illicit activities and actions." He does not mention any prior "illicit" actions by NYCC or by ACORN's New York chapter.

Issa cites an October 26 FoxNews.com article, which he says reports that "NYCC employees solicited donations from union members and lied about how the money would be used." He concludes:

NYCC's close relationship with ACORN and its history of corruption is concerning in its own right, but even worse is NYCC's fraudulent activity. NYCC misused the money of hardworking union members in order to fund the Occupy Wall Street movement.  

What is Issa's basis for this claim? An article based solely on anonymous "sources," in which the reporter gave no indication who those sources were or why their statements should be given credence. FoxNews.com's article also claimed that the group had hired "former ACORN-affiliated staff members" and "homeless people recruited from shelters" to attend and support the Occupy Wall Street protest. NYCC quickly denied the claims, with board member Linnette Ebanks saying, "We don't pay protesters and any monies raised by NYCC's canvass are used in support of our ongoing issue campaigns. Period."

Nonetheless, right-wing media quickly jumped on the Fox report, with Issa now following them.

This is no surprise. The right-wing media have long blamed ACORN for virtually all the nation's ills. Meanwhile, Issa has devoted significant federal resources to ACORN-related fishing investigations, culminating in a February 2010 report titled "Follow the Money: ACORN, SEIU and their Political Allies." When it comes to politically-motivated witch-hunts, neither really care about getting the facts.

UPDATE: Politico's Ben Smith has NYCC's response to Issa's letter:

Let's be clear on the facts: no one at NYCC had anything to do with the conceiving, founding or funding of Occupy Wall Street. We work on a daily basis to fight against illegal foreclosures and to keep the Millionaires Tax in place, so that $5 billion in social services don't get gutted for the poor. We are allies and work with Occupy Wall Street on occasion and we certainly understand, at the deepest level, its call for economic justice for the 99 Percent of Americans struggling to survive. We know it's hard for billionaires such as Rupert Murdoch and the 1 percent to comprehend how a movement like Occupy came into fruition, but we doubt Murdoch or Roger Ailes have ever been in a similar position as the millions of American families who are out of work and fed up with our political process. 

Now FOX is wasting American taxpayer money pursuing this even further. FOX and Murdoch -- the man who allowed his staff to hack into the private lives of people all over the world -- have enlisted Wall Street's chief political benefactor, biggest defender and multi-millionaire, Republican hatchet man Darrell Issa - to further the network's One percent political agenda. — Issa, who famously declared that he wanted to hold a hearing a week for forty weeks when he took over the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has largely come up empty and is now scraping the bottom of the barrel, wasting Americans taxpayer money chasing baseless rumors fed to him by Rupert Murdoch. It's unfortunate but we expect nothing less from Issa, Murdoch and FOX.