Bank of America has received $45 billion in taxpayer TARP funds, and has slashed its dividend to a penny. Yet it is one of ACORN and its affiliates’ biggest funders.
Our review of annual tax returns for the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Inc. for the last three years (2006, 2007, 2008) found more than $3.6 million in grants to ACORN and its affiliates. Those grants include a grant of $2 million to ACORN Housing, Inc. last year, and direct grants to ACORN Housing, Inc. offices in Baltimore, Maryland and San Bernardino, California, the locations of undercover video stings.
On its website, ACORN Housing, Inc. describes its relationship with Bank of America as a “partnership.” The Bank of America website lists no less than 26 ACORN offices where:
Bank of America works with Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) Housing to provide special mortgage products to potential homeowners in NAME OF CITY.
Unlike many public companies, Bank of America Corporation does not disclose individual grants it makes to nonprofit groups. We do not know what direct funding Bank of America Corporation provides to ACORN and/or its affiliates. It is obvious, however, that ACORN and/or its affiliates market and/or administer loan programs for the bank.
Although legally a separate entity, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Inc. is controlled by Bank of America Corporation. Its 30-member board of directors is comprised of Bank of America Corporation executives or employees of the foundation itself. Its sole source of revenue in 2008 was a donation of $167 million from Bank of America Corporation.
Today, I wrote Bank of America CEO & President Ken Lewis:
National Legal and Policy Center, a Bank of America Corporation shareholder, asks that Bank of America Corporation and the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Inc. end funding of, and sever all relationships with, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), ACORN Housing, Inc., and ACORN’s many affiliates, which may number as many as 360 organizations.
On the “Corporate Governance” page of the Bank of America website, Lewis states:
At Bank of America, we are committed to upholding the highest standards of corporate governance and ethical conduct in all we do.
Last week, the United States Senate voted 83-7, and the House of Representatives voted 345-75 to stop taxpayer funds from going to ACORN. Congressional action will be circumvented, however, if Bank of America Corporation and Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Inc. continue to fund ACORN and its affiliates.
My letter to Lewis concludes:
Taxpayers, shareholders, customers, employees and business partners demand that you end your partnership with ACORN and its affiliates without delay.
Flaherty: ‘Deeper Scandal’ is ACORN Finances (video: CNN/Dobbs)