Sunday, March 21, 2010

ACORN May File for Bankruptcy

ACORN, which describes itself as the "Nation's Largest Grassroots Community Organization," may decide this weekend whether to file for bankruptcy, the New York Times reports.  The organization came under attack after two conservative activists purportedly asked for and received advice about hiding prostitution from the police.  A four-month investigation by the Brooklyn D.A. concluded that no ACORN employees had committed criminal acts.  The investigation revealed that the video shot by the activists had been edited significantly, changing the dialog between the activist and the ACORN employees and even changing the clothes the activist wore when talking with ACORN employees.  He apparently had been wearing normal street clothes when he went to the ACORN offices but changed the video to show him in rather outrageous "pimp clothes."

In the aftermath of the "sting," ACORN lost public donations and government funding.  In addition, and perhaps even more critical to its problems, ACORN had had internal problems of infighting, embezzlement, and mismanagement.  Failure to deal with those problems was then compounded by the dramatic drop in funding.

Fifteen of the thirty state chapters have already disbanded, and two, California and New York, have reconstituted themselves with new names.  The closing of ACORN offices in many places has led to "a vacuum in services for communities that used to rely on it for free advice on employment, tax and loan matters."  (NYT article quoting ACORN supporters.)


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