ACORN to formally disband on April 1

Here we see ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis kissing then New York Governor Michael Bloomberg. It remains to be seen whether Ms. Lewis will play a role in any attempts to restructure ACORN after it disbands April 1, or whether it will file for bankruptcy and eventually disappear.

ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis kissing then-New York Governor Michael Bloomberg. Image from pumabydesign001.

There was a time when ACORN – the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now – lived by its ideals and had a bright future in the reform arena. But recent controversies which may have led to falling revenue, and hence a need for short term personal loans, will prompt ACORN to disband effective April 1. While some media critics simply view this as a rebranding of the organization, others view this as a long overdue end of a troubled era.

ACORN’s era of subprime manipulation ends

Jerry Chautin writes for The Huffington Post that ACORN may have played a significant role in the subprime mortgage mess that nearly sank America’s economy. In particular, it “pushed for more lenient benchmarks that would include all consumers. Their contention was that everyone deserves to own a home regardless of their income level or credit history.” That’s a noble sentiment, but lack of regulation and borrowers with eyes bigger than their budgets created a financial quagmire. That’s why the Wall Street Journal once claimed that ACORN and the Community Reinvestment Act “laid the foundation for the house of cards built out of subprime loans.”

ACORN admitted mistakes were made

And CEO Bertha Lewis knew that damage repair was necessary: “We will go to whatever lengths necessary to reestablish the public trust.” Lewis said this to the media when the subprime crisis was at its peak, Reuters reports. But in September of 2009: the ACORN prostitute video made its viral rounds. While James O’Keefe and company may have edited footage just enough to make the ACORN members seem guiltier than they were, the negative publicity never went away completely. The organization seemed to lack credibility.

Most of the 20 ACORN chapters have already disbanded

Add voter fraud into the already boiling mix and you can see that ACORN had problems. Despite numerous denials from ACORN, Congress voted to cut off federal funding to the community activist group and the U.S. Census Bureau terminated its partnership with ACORN. Reuters notes that a federal judge overturned the total funding prohibition, but the damage was already done.

It is unclear whether ACORN will file for bankruptcy or simply reorganize with private emergency money at this time.

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