National non-profit housing advocacy organization Acorn is folding and will shutter state affiliates and field offices by April 1, the scandal-plagued group has announced. The news follows a string of highly-publicized embarrassments for the group. Last fall, Acorn employees were accused of giving advice to activists posing as a pimp and a prostitute on how to conceal their criminal behavior, and during the 2008 election, Acorn was hit with a barrage of criticism over allegedly shady voter registration efforts. Since then, Congress stopped giving grants to the organization and the Internal Revenue Service dropped it from its Voluntary Income Tax Assistance program. The Brooklyn district attorney’s office last month concluded that the Acorn employees in the video had not taken part in any criminal activity. But in the end, the organization’s image could not recover. “For Acorn as a national organization, our vindication on the facts doesn’t necessarily pay the bills,” Acorn head Bertha Lewis said in a statement. The New York chapter, however, has split from the national
group and operates under a new name, the New York Times reported previously.
(Other state groups also reorganized and will take courses separate from
national group.) … [more]