Controversial Chicago-based community organizing group ACORN, which has been under numerous investigations, including being the subject of a video sting operation, announced it would close its doors on April 1.
It is believed the charity has disbanded, closing all state affiliates and field offices, but will continue to operate under newly formed organizations, unaffiliated with ACORN.
The organization, which backed President Barack Obama in the 2008 election, was enveloped in scandal after a widely circulated YouTube video surfaced this past September, showing ACORN employees giving advice on how to avoid punishment for practicing prostitution to two conservative activists disguised as a pimp and prostitute.
Congress then voted to ban the organization from receiving federal funds, and the U.S. Census Bureau ended its partnership with ACORN. A federal judge soon after ruled the decision invalid, however it is believed this caused the organization’s financial downfall.
The Brooklyn, N.Y. district attorney’s office investigated the video and its claims earlier this year, and ruled the ACORN employees were not guilty of any criminal activity. The prosecutors cleared ACORN of criminal wrongdoing on March 1, according to The New York Daily News, after investigating the organization for four months. The video by James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, conservative activists, was believed to be edited to meet a certain agenda.
“For ACORN as a national organization, our vindication on the facts doesn’t necessarily pay the bills,” said CEO Bertha Lewis in a written statement. “I know that ACORN’s dedicated community members will continue to speak out for justice and organize in their communities.”
The ACORN Association Board met this past Sunday and approved a set of steps to manage the organization’s closing and develop a plan to resolve outstanding debts.
“ACORN’s members have a great deal to be proud of — from promoting home ownership to helping rebuild New Orleans, from raising wages to winning safer streets, from training community leaders to promoting voter participation,” the board said in a statement, “ACORN members have worked hard to create stronger communities, a more inclusive democracy and more than just a nation.”
ACORN representative did not return telephone calls seeking additional information.