Friday, November 27, 2009

ACORN, "provided to," and the justice department

The NYT tells us:

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has concluded that the Obama administration can lawfully pay the community group ACORN for services provided under contracts signed before Congress banned the government from providing money to the group.

The weird thing is that President Obama signed a law including this:

"No taxpayer money—including money authorized by previous legislation—could be provided to Acorn or its affiliates."

Seems the phrase "provided to" is...ambiguous.

David Barron, the acting assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel said he had based his conclusion on the statute’s phrase “provided to.” This phrase, he said, has no clearly defined meaning in the realm of government spending — unlike words like “obligate” and “expend.”

Evidently, Mr. Barron consulted his dictionary and thesaurus to come to his decision. Somebody outta show him how to use these tools. To say nothing of explaining what a preposition is.

(By the way, regarding "is"...Is there a definitive definition of what the word "is" is?)