March 22nd, 2010
08:37 PM ET
5 years ago

ACORN community organizing group to close

ALT TEXT

ACORN's board has approved the steps required "to responsibly manage the process of bringing its operations to a close over the coming months," the group said in a statement Monday. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)

(CNN) - The community organizing group ACORN announced Monday it is closing its operations amid falling revenues.

The announcement came a day after the board of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now met and approved the steps required "to responsibly manage the process of bringing its operations to a close over the coming months," an ACORN statement read.

The group's remaining state affiliates and field offices will close by April 1 and a plan will be developed to pay its debts, the statement said.

"ACORN's members have a great deal to be proud of - from promoting homeownership to helping rebuild New Orleans, from raising wages to winning safer streets, from training community leaders to promoting voter participation - ACORN members have worked hard to create stronger to communities, a more inclusive democracy, and a more just nation," it said.

The 40-year-old liberal group was crippled by scandal six months ago when a pair of conservative activists posing as a pimp and a prostitute secretly videotaped two ACORN employees appearing to give them advice about setting up a prostitution ring and evading the IRS.

The video led to the employees being fired.

Afterward, Congress halted Housing and Urban Development grants to ACORN.

In a news release issued Saturday, ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis said the group had faced "a series of well-orchestrated, relentless, well-funded, right-wing attacks that are unprecedented since the McCarthy era. Our effective work empowering African-American and low-income voters made us a target. The videos were a manufactured, sensational story that led to rush to judgment and an unconstitutional act by Congress.

"For ACORN as a national organization, our vindication on the facts doesn't necessarily pay the bills. I know that ACORN's dedicated community members will continue to speak out for justice and organize in their
communities."

ACORN's announcement was welcomed by Matthew Vadum, senior editor of the Capital Research Center, a conservative think tank based in Washington. "I won't be shedding any tears," said Vadum, who said he has been studying the organization for years and written extensively on the organization. "ACORN is a thoroughly corrupt organization that abuses taxpayer dollars and breaks the law at every opportunity. To suggest that it was set up is laughable."

He added in a telephone interview with CNN, "For ACORN to claim that it's a victim of McCarthyism, as I've seen CEO Bertha Lewis do repeatedly, doesn't even pass the laugh test. It can't be taken seriously."

On March 1, prosecutors cleared the group of criminal wrongdoing related to the videos. And on March 10, U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon declared unconstitutional the law blacklisting ACORN and allied organizations from receiving federal funds, according to ACORN.

In 2008, Republican groups seized on allegations of voter registration fraud by the group in Florida and several other states, claiming its workers were trying to push the election in Barack Obama's favor.

Founded in 1970, ACORN called itself "the nation's largest grassroots community organization of low- and moderate-income people." The group said it had more than 400,000 member families organized into more than 1,200 neighborhood chapters in 110 cities.

Besides voter registration, the group focused on issues such as predatory lending, the minimum wage and funding for public schools, according to its Web site. It also provided free tax-return preparation for low-income people and screening for state and federal benefit programs.

Updated 8:37 p.m.


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soundoff (155 Responses)
  1. FOX lost me at freedom fries

    Oh no! What will rabid right wingers use for their rally cry now.

    March 22, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  2. HenryIV

    Roger Ale and FIX News bosses are handing out fat bonuses to Bill O' and the rest of em for this one.

    March 22, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  3. Jim in Florida

    Great, this should be a very clear proof that this parasitic tax sucking activist organization existed only if the government channelled hundreds of millions of taxpayer money to keep it afloat.

    Good riddance.

    But understanding "liberation" politics and chicago style thuggery like we now understand it – these bloodsuckers will just rename themselves and emerge once again, a ward of the government.

    March 22, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  4. Charlie in Maine

    The best intentions do not make up for lapses in ethics. Acorn did a lot of good but in the end they jeopordized it al be abusing the public trust. They are kind of like the "Elliot Spitzer" of organizations. It takes more than being right to run a movement it takes integrety. In the end they hurt the ones they say they cared about most...... à la Spitzer.

    March 22, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  5. EG Merrit

    ACORN isn't going away, Obama will ensure they are transformed within a different entity to continue to undermine the bonafide citizens of this nation.

    March 22, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  6. Turn Texas Blue

    We need new groups to educate the the people, and get them to vote so we never get the neo-fascists in power again.They claim to espouse the Constitution and Bible,all the while planning the middleclasses demise.NO MORE REPUBLICANS PLEASE.

    March 22, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  7. JJ

    And why not, since all the ACORN workers will be hired by the IRS (Obama care) to make sure they have total control of your lives from taxes, banking, cars, health care, and student loans. And still coming immigration and cap and trade. One step at at time.....

    March 22, 2010 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  8. annie against biased news

    LIE – they have re-organized under different names and today obama ordered funds to be released to them. obama needs all the voter fraud help he can get.

    March 22, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  9. .....

    Good job Republicans...100's maybe 1000's unemployed...you happy now?!

    March 22, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  10. Slim Shadey

    Acorn is just going to resurface under a new name.
    The scam is too good to pass up!

    March 22, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  11. Palin Power

    This is a clear sign that Obambi is going down in 2012 to Sarah Palin! Sarah Palin is clearly instrumental in taking down ACORN and she will take Obambi down, becoming America's next and greatest president of all times!

    March 22, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  12. BB

    This is sad to hear.
    98% of what this group did was good.
    This is proof...it only takes a few bad apples to spoil the whole cart.
    Look at the Tea Party idiots.
    Look at the Rethugliklan Radio hosts and commentators and Senators, etc....

    March 22, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  13. M

    Good. Let charities without ridiculous politcal agendas take the lead again.

    March 22, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  14. Mike

    Time to get a real job.

    March 22, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  15. rob

    As usual we will need to dig deeper ourselves because DNCNN won't do real journalism and follow up. This organization will not go away, it will go by a different name, but it will be back.

    March 22, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  16. Padraig

    They will resurface soon if not already and of course be under a different name. They are kidding no one.

    March 22, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  17. Obvious

    It's about darn time! That's all I have to say about that.

    March 22, 2010 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  18. Russ, Benton, AR

    ACORN never helped a cross section of America anyway.

    March 22, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  19. frank

    Does this mean the entire organization or a branch?

    March 22, 2010 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  20. frank in Valparaiso

    Much as the GOP hated this, they obviously never were poor and in Arkansas where it started. Having to deal with utilities and landlords.

    You can tell how effective it was by how much venom they spewed. You have to wonder about the GOP.

    But others will take up the standard.

    March 22, 2010 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  21. Nature's way

    Apparently this oak tree was rotten to the core.

    March 22, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  22. Dave M.

    Do'nt believe it. They are not closing simply changing thier name to avoid the fallout from the recent discovery of the criminal enterprise. Now is the time to turn up the pressure not fall back to sleep.

    March 22, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  23. Enough

    Close or be shut down, this corrupt organization needs to go.

    March 22, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  24. HC Bill Raises Taxes by over 5%

    On the surface, this sounds good "ACORN FOLDING", but the rumor mill has it that the organization will re-open under a new name and will be seeking GOVT FUNDING.

    Barrack Hussien Obozo will see that they get this funding.

    We're in DEBIT up the ying yang, but DUMocRATS believe that funding a corrpupt organization like this is important.

    Yeah, more tax dollars wasted.

    BUCK OFAMA

    March 22, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  25. John

    This is a victory for Americans everywhere.

    March 22, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
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