ACORN Hopes New Image Can Save Disgraced Advocacy Group

ACORN is turning over a new leaf.

The embattled advocacy organization is shuttering offices and rebranding itself in individual states, though the new groups share similar goals to the original national organization.

In Brooklyn, ACORN is now called "New York Communities for Change," the New York Post reported Tuesday, though change didn’t reach the masthead: Many of the same board members were simply rolled over. The relaunch comes as Politico reported the group is dissolving its entire national structure after a conservative group accused the organization of voter fraud.

"New York ACORN has closed its doors in New York City… there was a desire on the part of former members and staff to chart a new course with a new, independent organization that would get back to the basics of organizing," a spokesman said.

An ACORN branch in California announced a similar makeover.

A separate statement put out by spokesman Scott Levenson blamed ACORN's troubles on "a series of vicious right-wing attacks over the past year and a half, and this has made it harder for ACORN to raise funds and organize and serve its members."

Sullivan said the Brooklyn group will focus on helping New Yorkers facing foreclosure on their homes and advocating for tenant rights.

One source with close ties to ACORN said the change was a maneuver by the left-leaning organization to clear its bad name and continue raising private funds.

"They're reinventing themselves," the source said. "The old brand is toxic, and so they have to reinvent themselves in order to apply for funding and start their operation all over again.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes launched a probe into the local ACORN branch in September after two conservative activists disguised as a pimp and a prostitute were able to solicit financial advice on starting a brothel. Other ACORN affiliates, including offices in Baltimore, Washington and San Bernardino, Calif., were also exposed in the hidden-camera sting.

A spokesman for Hynes said the investigation is ongoing.

Shortly after news of the scandal broke, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn froze all new city funds earmarked for ACORN, and state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo began investigating the grants state lawmakers have given the group.

Congress also shut off much of the group's public funds.