U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), in a CNN appearance on Tuesday, more or less wipes the floor with U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) on her proposal to defund ACORN, the get-out-the-vote and housing assistance group. (Credit Talking Points Memo for the catch.)
Frank’s point is that Bachmann’s proposed amendment is bad law: It would defund any group that had any staffer under indictment. A rogue prosecutor could cripple any group just by indicting a staffer and then letting the indictment lag for years and not go to trial.
What’s interesting is what Frank uses as ammunition: Indictments against former Republican majority leader Tom DeLay, and against two former staffers for AIPAC. He notes that the indictments stood for years against the AIPAC staffers and were just dismissed.
Frank, who is Jewish and has a close (if at times argumentative) relationship with AIPAC, is bludgeoning Bachmann with two examples he knows she would see as sacrosanct: a former party leader who emerged (as she does) from its right flank; and the pro-Israel lobby, untouchable on both sides of the aisle, but perhaps moreso on the GOP side.
AIPAC doesn’t get federal funding, of course, and I don’t think DeLay is attached to any group that does; not only that, but AIPAC fired the staffers before the indictment (buckling under to a Justice Department policy since declared unconstituional in a separate case). Frank is making the broader point that targeting anyone simply for being under indictment encourages abuse by politically minded prosecutors.
Here’s the video: