ACORN 'dissolved as a national structure'

Monday, February 22, 2010 - 4:24pm

The embattled liberal group ACORN is in the process of dissolving its national structure, with state and local-chapters splitting off from the underfunded, controversial national group, an official close to the group confirmed.

"ACORN has dissolved as a national structure of state organizations," said a senior official close to the group, who declined to be identified by name because of the fierce conservative attacks on the group that began when a conservative filmmaker caught some staffers of its tax advisory arms on tape appearing to offer advice on incorporating a prostitution business.

The videos proved a rallying point for conservatives who had long accused the group of fomenting voting fraud. Though the videos did not produce criminal charges, they appear to have been fatal to the national organization.

"Consistent with what the internal recommendations have been, each of the states are developing plans for reconstitution independence and self-sufficiency," said the official, citing ACORN's "diminished resources, damage to the brand, unprecedented attacks."

The new organizations, he said "will be constituted under new banners and new bylaws and new governance," he said, consistent with the recommendations of an outside panel.

Much of the group's strength lay in its local chapters in places like New York, which appear to be continuing to operate as normal. New York's City Hall News reported today that the local group there had re-emerged under the name "New York Communities for Change."

UPDATE: A person familiar with the New York reorganization said the new group has a new board, including some relative outsiders, like an official at the union Workers United, Wilfredo Larancuent, as well as most of the old leadership.

But the impact appears to be minimal.

"It’s not like this is some kind of hostile thing," said the New York source. "This is what Fox has produced. National Acorn and Bertha Lewis are continuing doing their thing, but the New York flagship has been forced into this new organization."

"As far as the work in the communities and policy campaigns, no one will notice the difference," the source said. "It’s people who still believe in their basic mission of fighting for poor people."

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