March 22nd, 2010
08:37 PM ET
4 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. IWMPB

    Well thank goodness for small miracles...

    March 22, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  2. ib

    Just to surface another name with support from Obama I bet ya.

    March 22, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  3. Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

    I hope the n-word yelling Tea Party joins them – enough of the dingbat howlers of both sides.

    March 22, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  4. Baruch

    A victory for the racists, but a short lived one.

    March 22, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  5. William

    Good news for the teabaggers! See, it's not all a socialist conspiracy! Now a decent, albeit mismanaged community organizer is going the way of the fantasy bible tale. Teabagging victory!

    March 22, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  6. Four and The Door

    Finally some good news for America. It hasn't been working out so well for, like 1 year, 2 months and 4 days...

    March 22, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  7. Larry

    Double wammy for repugnicans. More people out of work and less access for the poor to become registered to vote. Thanks to that piece of dreck, wire tapping, criminal young conservative and his phoney edited recording. I hope the bastard rots in jail.

    March 22, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  8. liberal wingnut

    Until the next election then either ACORN or another corrupt organization will step up to get Obama votes and the media like before will ignore the claims.

    March 22, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  9. KBinMN

    And re-open very shortly under a new name one would expect.

    March 22, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  10. Amy Jacobson - Houston, TX

    Closing shop? Those who committed crimes should be sent to jail.

    March 22, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  11. SLP

    Awwww. It is such a shame that such an upstanding organization is closing its doors. How will the world go on? Better yet, who is going to be left to support the president now that the majority of Americans disapprove of him.

    March 22, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  12. Andy

    It would appear that the hyper hysterics, baseless innuendo and outright lies of the Republican party have triumphed once again. Depending on who you chose to believe, recently I've heard ACORN was responsible for the fluoridation of water plot, the assassination of Kennedy, and the international Communist Conspiracy. There seemed to be no limit to the vast ACORN conspiracy, whose tentacles seemed to exceed those of the Illuminati. Congratulations LIARS, you have succeeded in killing another flawed by good organization dedicated to the people instead of huge corporations and shadowy conservative mega fat cats.

    March 22, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  13. AmFem

    After the rough weekend the righties had, they needed a some kind of victory (no matter how small). Gotta toss them a bone every now and then. SCORE ONE FOR THE REPUGLICANS!!!

    March 22, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  14. Mike in San Antonio

    Well...that's one great piece of news after the fasco last night!

    March 22, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  15. Ron in California

    Who are they kidding...They are just going to appear else where under a diferent name. They are a criminal enterprise and that is what they do. I'll bet since the haelthcare bill passed, they show up as spme community health organization to milk that cow.

    March 22, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  16. Rick in AZ

    One less boogey-man with which the Republicans can scare their white racist members.

    March 22, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  17. Albo58

    This cancer on society will return under a new name and will be bankrolled by our tax dollars! The Dimwits can always use extra organized, ballot box stuffers!

    March 22, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain

    This is too bad, because ACORN has done a lot of good over the years in registering people to vote.

    I hope they get reorganized soon and can get back to helping communities.

    March 22, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  19. BS Bill Misleading Americans

    I'm sure Obama is taking care of them by continuing to have the ex Acorn people to do the same thing only under the guidance of the new socialistic American Government.

    March 22, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  20. Bye Bye

    Good riddance!
    One less extremist organization to contend with...

    Maybe other fringe groups like the tea baggers, PETA, etc... will follow suit.

    March 22, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  21. JP

    This is hope and change I can believe in. I think the next criminal organization that should be investigated is SEIU the same guy started both organizations.

    March 22, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  22. Dale

    No, they changed the name to protect the guilty

    March 22, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  23. df

    Not surprised ACORN is the fall guy to take heat of Obama after he rammed healthcare down the American publics throat.

    March 22, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  24. Goodbye and good ridance......

    all they were good at was giving advice on how to operate a brothel and get the gov't to pay for it......

    Just a bunch of drug addicts hanging out in ACORN offices living off of our taxes....

    ADIOS.

    March 22, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  25. df

    to bad it took an act of socialism by the president to get rid of acorn

    March 22, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
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