Published April 01, 2010
A Republican lawmaker released a report Thursday that he says proves the controversial community activist organization ACORN is alive and well, contrary to its announcement that it is disbanding.
The report from California Rep. Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, includes details of a recent business transaction between ACORN and a California affiliate that broke away this year and changed its name in a bid to start anew.
The transaction details how membership lists, computer equipment, employees and other assets will be transferred from ACORN to the new organization.
"ACORN is attempting to rebrand itself without instituting real reforms or removing senior leadership figures that need to be held accountable for wrongdoing," Issa said in a press release. "These newly renamed organizations are like career criminals who adopt aliases without changing their criminal lifestyles."
The document, titled "Asset Transfer and License agreement" shows that Bertha Lewis, chief executive of ACORN, sold the group's assets to the newly formed Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) in exchange for cash.
ACCE has hired former ACORN employees, purchased the ACORN database of dues-paying members and bought a database with "e-mail contact information for approximately 16,202 potential contributors residing in California."
But the document does not indicate that Lewis or any other national ACORN leaders are involved in the California group.
ACORN announced last month that it is closing after a series of undercover videos last year showed its employees offering tax advice to a couple posing as a pimp and prostitute, tarnishing the group's reputation. After the videos were released, Congress voted to block any federal money to ACORN.
ACORN's board decided to close state affiliates and field offices by April 1, with some national operations continuing to operate for at least several weeks before they shut down for good, spokesman Kevin Whelan told The Associated Press.
But most of the 20 chapters of ACORN are organizing under new names, a source within the group told Reuters.