The newswires are awash with reports that ACORN has gone under and dissolved, but ACORN itself says something somewhat different.
What seems to have happened is this: (1) ACORN has suffered some significant financial challenges in the wake of the pimp-and-prostitute video sting combined with the lingering effects of the Rathke embezzlement and cover-up; reportedly, many of ACORN’s longtime funders bolted and, despite a management review by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, never returned; (2) the organization’s image and reputation took body blows that were not helped by unrelenting negative coverage on Fox News, by conservative commentators such as Glenn Beck, and by Congress, whose Defund ACORN Act received bipartisan support, even after a lower federal court ruled in favor of ACORN regarding future federal funding; and (3) despite being the beneficiary of a third-party management review by a credible professional source, ACORN’s hard-to-find announcement of a positive and forthright plan for implementing the Harshbarger recommendations left some observers hanging, wondering why ACORN didn’t simply announce a high profile plan that its funders and some of the public could buy into.
What has happened in the last few days, as the Christian Science Monitor reports, is a continuing dynamic of ACORN’s largest state or metropolitan chapters or affiliates splitting off, establishing themselves as 501(c)(3) charities independent of national ACORN, and shedding the ACORN name and identity. In New York, the new entity will be New York Communities for Change, although, as Politico reports, some of the old leadership will be in charge of the new entity. California ACORN had already cut its ties to the national operation, reorganizing itself as the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. The