In the wake of scandals that sullied its name and severely hampered its fundraising ability, the community group ACORN will soon cease to exist as a national organization.
The ACORN board met Sunday and "approved a set of steps to responsibly manage the process of bringing its operations to a close over the coming months," according to a statement from National ACORN spokesman Kevin Whelan posted by Politico's Ben Smith.
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now will close its remaining state affiliates and field offices by April 1st and is developing a plan to deal with its outstanding debts.
"ACORN's members have a great deal to be proud of--from promoting to homeownership to helping rebuild New Orleans, from raising wages to winning safer streets, from training community leaders to promoting voter participation--ACORN members have worked hard to create stronger to communities, a more inclusive democracy, and a more just nation," Whelan said in the statement.
ACORN's New York office shut down last month but was; the same thing happened in California, where ACORN became the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. These groups and other strong local former ACORN groups will likely continue as national ACORN winds down.
The New York Times reported Sunday that ACORN was on the verge of bankruptcy. The group has been struggling to raise money from both governmental and non-governmental organizations in the wake of a succession of scandals, most prominent among them the sting set up by young conservative activists in which ACORN workers were shown offering advice on concealing criminal activities. Video of the encounters resulted in the group's government funding essentially drying up as conservative media organizations and lawmakers .
Founded in 1970, the group focused on affordable housing, helping low-income people with their tax returns and voter registration and raising the minimum wage, among other issues. The videotape scandal came after revelations that in 2008 the brother of the group's founder had embezzled funds and complaints about workers falsifying voter applications in the 2008 election.