ACORN Political Machine Tries to Reinvent Itself

Published: Apr 1, 2010

WASHINGTON D.C. – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) today released a report examining the rebranding of 13 ACORN affiliated organizations following reports that ACORN had disbanded.  The report includes evidence of a recent business transaction between ACORN and the organization rebranded as Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) which details how membership lists, computer equipment, employees and other assets will be transferred from ACORN to the new organization.

“Based on review of these corporate filings, Committee investigators have discovered that Affordable Housing Centers of America, Inc. maintains the same Tax Identification Number as ACORN Housing, Inc., its predecessor,” the Issa-released Report found.  “This means that, for tax purposes, Affordable Housing Centers of American and ACORN Housing are the same.  Additionally, Committee investigators found that several new ACORN affiliates maintain the same boards, staff and Employer Identification Numbers as former ACORN offices.  This reflects the lack of true change or reform between these new organizations and their predecessors.”

Reacting to the report’s findings, Issa said, “ACORN is attempting to rebrand itself without instituting real reforms or removing senior leadership figures that need to be held accountable for wrongdoing.  These newly renamed organizations are like career criminals who adopt aliases without changing their criminal lifestyles.”

The report concludes that these new organizations are not independent of ACORN, but part of a national strategy by ACORN to limit damage from recent scandals, escape public scrutiny, and continue a model that allows the organization to illegally function as a political machine funded by taxpayers and charitable donations:

“These rebrandings and transactions indicate that local chapters are not forcibly separating themselves from ACORN, but are attempting to reinvent themselves through a process done in full coordination with ACORN and its national senior leadership including Bertha Lewis.  The close coordination of the rebranding process signals a level of continued control that ACORN’s senior officials exert over newly rebranded affiliates. ACORN and its affiliates appear to be following a strategy that will allow it to rehabilitate important state and local chapters under new names and then solicit private donations and public grants.  ACORN is clearly reeling from public and official scrutiny of its many misdeeds.  Documents and investigation, however, reveal that changes taking place at ACORN are the result of financial hardship and a desire to rebrand without real reform.  Rebrandings should not be mistaken for real reforms which would, at a minimum, have to include a house cleaning of ACORN leadership, organizational transparency, and an exclusive focus on charitable work and services.”

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Minority Staff Report Document