The suit, filed in federal court in New York, claims that bills passed by the House and Senate to defund the group qualify as bills of attainder, legislation that unfairly targets one group. Such bills are unconstitutional.
The suit will seek to restore funding and roll-back the ban, which was passed as part of the legislative branch appropriations bill in September.
ACORN claims that the legislation was of “malicious and punitive intent.” The suit also claims Congress violated the Fifth Amendment by skirting due process before doling out the punishment of the funding cut. OMB Director Peter Orszag and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner are listed as co-defendants in the suit.
Efforts to defund ACORN became popular among Democrats and Republicans after conservative activists caught the organization’s employees in several offices advising actors posing as a pimp and politician, along with his prostitute girlfriend, on how to evade taxes and set up a brothel.
Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and others in Congress quickly moved to ensure no federal funds were steered to the group – measures that got support from even the most ardent liberals like Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.).
The lawsuit, which was brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights, says that ACORN has been subject to “heavily funded and orchestrated political campaigns.” Read more.