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. Maria

    If anyone really believes ACORN is folding it's tent and going away....I've got some swamp land to sell you. They are quitting using the ACORN name, but are reorganizing themselves under new names in different states and communities in your area so they can continue to ge taxpaper money with the same CEO/other corrupt leaders to keep doing the same fradulent dirty, illegal work they've always done. Please America, keep your eyes open and be prepared to 'out' them wherever they might be be they're just getting started again to do more voter fraud in your neighborhood and send more scumbags to Washington and to your local and state offices. .

    March 22, 2010 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  2. D

    I understand Acorn will continue under another name... and the Obama administration has passed the word to start funding them again?

    March 22, 2010 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  3. Roark

    Whatever. And now they say it's a result of right wing attacks...hmm..sounds familiar..."I did not have, sexual relations, with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky..."

    Somehow, liberals scamming the american people out their hard earned taxed dollars for this ridiculous organization has fallen prey to "right wing attacks."

    Where's the personal responsibility in this liberals? Oh yeah, liberals don't believe in personal responsibility. They just expect the government to take care of them and wipe their asses. Grow up and show some accountability for your actions.

    March 22, 2010 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  4. Hroark

    Whatever. And now they say it's a result of right wing attacks...hmm..sounds familiar..."I did not have, sexual relations, with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky..."

    Somehow, liberals scamming the american people out their hard earned taxed dollars for this ridiculous organization has fallen prey to "right wing attacks."

    Where's the personal responsibility in this liberals? Oh yeah, liberals don't believe in personal responsibility. They just expect the government to take care of them and wipe their asses. Grow up and show some accountability for your actions.

    March 22, 2010 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  5. Gman

    We need to destroy every last reminant of ACORN, it's leadership, its membership, its philosophy. We need a different, better way to help the poor communities. ACORN has been a corrupt mess.

    March 22, 2010 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  6. Pat F

    One community organizer down, one to go!

    March 22, 2010 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  7. The Unsub

    the utter anger expressed by the repubs after the bill passed is shocking but entertaining also. I heard o'reilly tonight and he was even shocked by what he was hearing on the radio shows...he described the callers as "crazed" and "hyseteric."

    March 22, 2010 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  8. stefanl

    ACORN turned itself into a self serving group, of dishonest bums.

    March 22, 2010 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  9. Nini

    Thank GOD.

    March 22, 2010 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  10. JK Ashburn, VA

    Perhaps they can get counseling from ACORN about how to keep a criminal enterprise in business.

    March 22, 2010 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  11. Chimen de Fer

    Good. But beware.. They may be organizing under different names.

    I was working the Democratic primaries and saw videos of their ocrruption. Can't we win an election decently anymore? Do we need the government to support such corrupt organizations?

    March 22, 2010 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  12. Luvinia Knight

    Can the people behind that prank really feel good about themselves for helping to deny help to hundreds of people.

    March 22, 2010 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  13. David

    Good riddance! Please go, you imbibes!

    March 22, 2010 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  14. John

    I find it odd that such an honest and hard working group which has "so much to be proud of".....including giving advice on defrauding the government and promoting prostitution would have a hard time surviving in the public eye.....especially now that they have been exposed for what they truly are...... cheerleaders for government cheese-eaters.

    March 22, 2010 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  15. terry,va.

    Don't you see why Obummie supports acorn?

    March 22, 2010 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  16. Tom

    No real loss there, just more crooks looking for work now.

    March 22, 2010 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  17. Good News

    Well at least we have defeated one group of socialist liberals in 2010. More work is ahead of us. 219 democrat congressmen need to be fired in November.

    March 22, 2010 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  18. Aaron

    It's a shame that a group with ACORN's goals and mission had to go down this way. Especially troubling is the hyprocrisy of the Congressman. So many of them have frequented prostitutes without repercussion, however ACORN is held accountable for the actions of a few rogue employees.

    March 22, 2010 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  19. Mike

    The only organization less crooked than congress is acorn. Well in November we can throw congress out.

    March 22, 2010 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  20. valwayne

    Organization like ACORN don't tend to just disappear. They may drop out of sight and change their name, but people engage in the kind of activites ACORN has been involved with don't tend to just give up. They tend to have behind the scenes supporters with lots of money that want them to keep right on doing the things they do. I hope the proper authorities are keeping an eye on this situation. The name may change.....but I seriously doubt they will give up and go get legitimate jobs!!!

    March 22, 2010 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  21. Shelby

    Keep an eye on the leadership. They will soon be reforming a new organization under a new name and a nice big chunk of stimulus money.

    March 22, 2010 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  22. Edwin

    They did a lot of good work, but they screwed up very publicly. This is no surprise.

    March 23, 2010 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  23. Andy from NYC

    Acorn was their own worst enemy,and sadly,the Neo-cons did not have to do much heavy lifting to achieve its demise.

    March 23, 2010 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  24. Preston kathy

    Pkm it sounds to me like law suit time there has to be more to this story then they are telling us

    March 23, 2010 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  25. yvonne in nashville

    What did it accomplish and what has the country lost?

    March 23, 2010 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
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