SEPTEMBER 28, 2011
Scandal-Ridden Activist Group Lives on in the Form of “Bullet Proof Community-Organizing Frankensteins” Created Across the Country
(Washington, DC) — Judicial Watch, the public interest organization that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released “The Rebranding of ACORN,” a special report on the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) network, following an extensive investigation of the organization’s transformation into various “spinoffs” and affiliated organizations.
The ACORN-affiliated groups existing today are ACORN in all but name. These groups tend to occupy ACORN’s former offices, are staffed in many cases with former ACORN employees, and remain committed to ACORN’s mission. Judicial Watch has documented 17 ACORN-affiliated organizations in the following states/regions: Arizona, Arkansas, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New England, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.
Among the conclusions of Judicial Watch’s special report:
- ACORN lives on in the form of numerous state entities and in such affiliated organizations as Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA), The Advance Group, The Black Institute, and Project Vote. In the words of Bertha Lewis, former chief executive officer of ACORN, “… these entities are carrying on ACORN’s work of organizing low- and moderate-income folks… [We have created] bullet-proof community-organizing Frankensteins that they’re going to have a very hard time attacking.”
- Tens of millions of dollars in ACORN’s funds and other assets are still unaccounted for. The Louisiana attorney general’s office and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, as well as Judicial Watch, continue to investigate what happened to these missing resources.
- Judicial Watch discovered that the Obama administration continues to bankroll ACORN and its affiliates in defiance of the federal government’s funding ban. For example, on March 1, 2011, ACORN Housing Corporation ─ renamed Affordable Housing Centers of America (though it retained the same headquarters and many of the ACORN officers) ─ received a $79,819 grant from the Obama Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
- ACORN’s Project Vote, President Obama’s former employer, remains active in trying to register a “Food Stamp Army” of voters on public assistance to re-elect Obama and other leftist candidates. In Colorado, for instance, Judicial Watch uncovered documents proving that ACORN/Project Vote successfully pressured Colorado officials into implementing new policies for increasing the registration of public assistance recipients during the 2008 and 2010 election seasons. After the policy changes, the percentage of fraudulent voter registration forms from Colorado public assistance agencies was four times the national average. Evidence suggests the Obama Justice Department might be partnering with Project Vote in this campaign.
At its peak, ACORN had over 400,000 members and 1,200 chapters in more 100 cities. Linked to serious scandals involving misuse of taxpayer funds, embezzlement, intimidation tactics, employee abuse, questionable hiring tactics, and fraudulent voter registrations, ACORN’s corrupt activities finally caught the attention of the American public and members of Congress, the final blow coming after explosive journalist videos were released showing ACORN employees advising undercover reporters on how to evade taxes, as well as immigration, housing, and child prostitution laws.
After the videos “went viral,” in October 2009, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the Defund ACORN Act which effectively prohibited the federal government from funding “ACORN and any ACORN-related affiliate.” ACORN subsequently filed for bankruptcy on November 2, 2010. Long before its bankruptcy filing, however, ACORN’s leadership implemented a plan to ensure the survival of ACORN as independent state corporations and affiliated organizations. The Judicial Watch report provides details on the individual organizations and their officers.
“As this report clearly shows, rumors of ACORN’s demise are vastly overstated. The ACORN network, especially its partner in crime Project Vote, is alive and well and operating across the country,” said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. “The Obama, administration, sure enough, has begun funding the ACORN housing group in violation of the law. We fear a taxpayer-funded repeat of the ACORN/Project Vote voter registration scandal in 2012.”
Barack Obama served as the Illinois executive director of the ACORN partner Project Vote in 1992. His campaign paid more than $800,000 to an ACORN organization to help “get out the vote” in his successful primary campaign against then-Sen. Hillary Clinton in 2008. In November 2007, then-Senator Obama addressed ACORN and thanked the organization for its work: “I’ve been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work.”
“Barack Obama is truly ‘the president from ACORN,’” added Tom Fitton.
To review the comprehensive report by Judicial Watch entitled “The Rebranding of ACORN,” please visit www.judicialwatch.org.