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

ACORN community organizing group to close


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

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. Philip N. Fultz

    Now it will be necessary for someone–it is the press' job–to note whether the same people show up elsewhere with a different name, and the same old crooked agenda.

    March 22, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  2. Grrr-Awful-O

    More like they franchised themselves into a thousand different names in a thousand different places. They just made themselves invisible. Apparently standard operating procedure for liberals (who always seem to need to hide what they're doing).

    March 22, 2010 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  3. Paul H

    Good when any organization is corrupt it needs to go away. I don't feel sorry for anyone involved. There was probably a lot of good people there as well but not enough to over shadow the corrupt nature of how things ran.
    One has to realize though that these snakes will shed there skins and come back as something else, or under another name. This battle was won, but the war is still going. Keep your eyes on the ones in control, they will lay low for awhile but there are other like them waiting for their turn.

    March 22, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  4. Kevin in Ohio

    This is a criminal organization. It is unfortunate they can re-emerge under a new name or new names to continue their illegal influence on elections.

    Any organization, left or right, that is as political as they are should NOT receive tax dollars.

    March 22, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  5. reggie

    Now, there's really no way Obama can get reelected.

    March 22, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  6. gopher

    Too bad that Acorn's upper echelon turned a blind eye to all the illegal activities, such as voter registration fraud, business loan fraud, etc. Oh, could it be that they promoted it? Our tax money, right? Hmmmm?

    March 22, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  7. paul

    AWWWWWW Man who's gonna advise me on setting up my brothel or give me a pack of smokes for signing up to vote 40 times??????

    March 22, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |

    I trust them absolutely in their word. Just as much as I trust Obama's word. Transparency and doing the will of the people. Yeah, right.

    March 22, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  9. Jessica

    What's done in the dark always comes to light. No matter what the situation is, we should all take the higher road. ACORN obviously had some shady people working for them and it showed. Take a Bow

    March 22, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  10. Bill

    Don't worry. They'll reopen under some sort of disguise.

    March 22, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  11. Joel Holden

    Good riddance to ACORN. All those accolades for its accomplishments. How about the fact that it contaminated the 2008 Presidential election with the hundreds of thousands of illegal voters it registered to elect the miscreant we now call our President.

    March 22, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  12. guy from NM

    Yes, lets rely instead on crooked politicians and their operatives. The republicans are good at lying and manipulating the media. ACORN did more for the poor and lower middle class in this country than any of the politicos in congress. It is not over

    March 22, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  13. Bruce

    Good factual story. Why doesn't the traditional media do good factual stories before the damage is done to good people?

    March 22, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  14. rebecca brigandi

    I don't believe Acorn is going anywhere. They will still operate, as before, under another name. This is how they have escaped being held accountable for their many illegal and unethical practices in the past. They have received billions of federal dollars over the years not directly, but indirectly through shell non profits in their own network. Since Acorn is one arm of the SEIU, which intends to expand to control the workers of Europe, and has a real presence in the UK, it will most like keep the Acorn name over there, and operate here under a new name hoping to hide until all controversy about them blows over. I hope Americans wake up to reality.

    March 22, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  15. ender

    Such a shame.

    ACORN was backed by George Bush, and John Mccain. But only became an "Issue" after they wound up registering more Democrats than Republicans.

    Then all of the sudden it was "evil".

    Oh well, no big loss really.

    March 22, 2010 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  16. Right Leaning Independent

    I am certain the Democratic Committie will pay to form a new corrupt organization to carry on their dirty work!

    March 22, 2010 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  17. Eli

    AMEN! Thank god my tax dollars will no longer fund this crooked liberal fraud of an organization. Funding any group with taxpayer money which is clearly partisan is wrong and should be illegal! So long and good riddance!

    March 22, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  18. Bmax

    They can join the Air America crowd at the unemployment line.

    March 22, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  19. John Young

    ACORN will be remembered for helping to get elected someone who brought so much misery to the American people.

    March 22, 2010 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  20. Texas Granny

    It is time. This group had lost all credibility. And to be honest, deservedly so.

    March 22, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  21. southern cousin

    Don't believe this for a minute. The SEIU is just morphing them in to a new corrupt organizationn in their own image.

    March 22, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  22. M.

    Willions of dollars wasted and stolen by them. They should have been prosecuted also.

    March 22, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  23. Brad Haupt

    The ACORN organization broke no laws and is guilty of absolutely nothing. This is like putting McDonald's out of business because some guy in the back got caught spitting on someone's burger. The attacks by American conservatives against ACORN were never about anything other than racism and one-party fascism.

    March 22, 2010 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  24. jules sand-perkins

    Are there any more entities trained in community organizing that we can lose?

    March 22, 2010 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  25. It's about time

    "ACORN is a thoroughly corrupt organization that abuses taxpayer dollars and breaks the law at every opportunity"

    March 22, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
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