ACORN going to ground to escape scrutiny

ACORN is closing chapters and affiliates all across the country as pressure begins to mount on the organization thanks to the recent prostitution sting videos.

P.J. Huffstutter and Kate Linthicum of the Los Angeles Times have the story:

Stung by the recession and a string of scandals, the ACORN community activist organization has been shutting down in many of the communities it once worked to empower.

No new clients are being signed up, said national spokesman Brian Kettenring, while the group conducts an internal investigation into how its business is conducted.

The Assn. of Community Organizations for Reform Now had already shuttered 40% of its centers -- in cities including Chicago, Salt Lake City, Atlanta and Omaha -- since its high of 105 offices two years ago, he said. The branches helped low- and middle-income clients with housing, jobs and navigating government aid programs.

Kettenring said that the closures were mostly due to the poor economy and had become more frequent in the last year.

"We're seeing the same challenges the entire nonprofit sector is seeing," he said.

But former ACORN members say the scandals that have recently dogged the organization -- including allegations of mismanagement and voter registration fraud -- have been a bigger problem.

I wouldn't worry too much if I were ACORN. Once everything blows over, most of these offices will be resurrected as if by a miracle. Remember, these guys have other means of acquiring revenue than the government. They can tap the biggest heavy hitters in the Democratic party for funds - and get them easily. Unions like SEIU would be glad to help their friends in ACORN out - when the heat's off.

Watch also as they re-open these offices under a different name. These folks have 30 years of experience in dodging legal bullets and attempts to pin them down are going to be very difficult.

Perhaps we should have a contest to rename ACORN into something softer, furrier, more friendly. Please make your suggestions in the comments and we'll make sure to pass them along.

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