Wednesday, September 16, 2009

ACORN Orders a Halt to Any New Intakes Into ACORN's Service Programs Pending Completion of an Independent Review

ACORN has announced that they are halting new intakes into their Service Programs until an independent review is completed. This seems an effort to stop the 'bleeding' from the scandalous videos that have been released showing ACORN workers offering advice on how to get away with underage prostitution and tax evasion. This does present a different problem for them though because it would seem to be in contradiction to their past statements attacking the film maker and accusing them of doctoring the videos. It is to early to see if the tactic (or legitimate effort at reform, I will let you draw your own conclusion), but you can count on ACORN saying that the next legal or political action taken against them is 'unnecessary because we our handling the matter internally'. You can also count on some of their supporters making the same argument. I would be more inclined to believe ACORN if this had been their first reaction to the first video, not the latest in a long line to the fourth.

Here is the complete statement, downloadable at

"ACORN Announces Major Steps to Address Issues Raised by Videos

In response to recently released videos of frontline ACORN staff, ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis made the following announcement Wednesday morning:

“As a result of the indefensible action of a handful of our employees, I am, in consultation with ACORN’s Executive Committee , immediately ordering a halt to any new intakes into ACORN’s service programs until completion of an independent review. I have also communicated with ACORN’s independent Advisory Council, and they will assist ACORN in naming an independent auditor and investigator to conduct a thorough review of all of the organizations relevant systems and processes. That reviewer, to be named within 48 hours, will make recommendations directly to me and to the full ACORN Board. We enter this process with a commitment that all recommendations will be implemented.”

Ms. Lewis is specifically ordering the following steps be taken effective noon eastern on September 16, 2009:

• No new intakes will be accepted into ACORN’s offices for service programs, effective immediately;
• An immediate in-service training for all frontline staff has been ordered within 48 hours;
• ACORN’s independent Advisory Council will help select an independent auditor/reviewer no later than September 18th to review all of the systems and processes called into question by the videos.

In early 2009, ACORN set up an independent Advisory Council to help facilitate a transition to a new management team under the leadership of CEO Bertha Lewis. Lewis was appointed to the job in the fall of 2008 after disclosure of a set of improper management decisions by the founder of the organization, who had led ACORN for 38 years. ACORN’s Advisory Council includes:

• John Podesta, President and CEO, Center for American Progress
• Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Board Member, RFK Foundation, former MD Lt. Governor
• Andrew Stern, International President, Service Employees International Union
• Henry Cisneros, Executive Chairman, Cityview
• John Banks, Vice President of Government Relations Con Ed
• Eric Eve, Senior VP of Global Consumer Group, Community Relations, Citigroup
• Harvey Hirschfeld, President, Lawcash
• Dave Beckwith, Executive Director, Needmor Fund

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a member of the Advisory Council said: “ACORN has a long history of serving those who most need help, and giving voice to those who have been left behind. We will take the necessary steps to ensure that ACORN functions with the highest levels of ethical standards and competence.”

Since the fall of 2008, ACORN’s new management team has instituted a set of changes, including:

• The establishment of a new senior management team of the organization;
• Revamping of ACORN’s board structure, including the establishment of new oversight committees with new resourcing to those committees;
• Establishment of the independent Advisory Council
• Processes to hire a new auditor, CFO, and other key management positions.

Said Ms. Lewis: “We have all been deeply disturbed by what we’ve seen in some of these videos. I must say, on behalf of ACORN’s Board and our Advisory Council, that we will go to whatever lengths necessary to reestablish the public trust. For nearly forty years, ACORN has given voice to communities, and gotten results. Right now, our nearly 500,000 member are working their hearts out for quality, affordable healthcare for every American and to help stop the foreclosure crisis. We must get this process right, so the good work can go forward.”

Past related posts: (see ACORN label for the latest)
Berman Post: ACORN Employees in Baltimore Give Advice to Pimp on Tax Evasion And Child Prostitution
Berman Post: ACORN Employees in DC Give Advice to Pimp on Tax Evasion And Prostitution
Berman Post: Coverage of ACORN's Latest Scandal
Berman Post: Census Bureau Cuts Ties With ACORN
Berman Post: People Facing Prosecution in ACORN Scandal Are ... The People Who Exposed Them!?!
Berman Post: Complete Audio of ACORN Employees in DC Give Advice to Pimp on Tax Evasion And Prostitution
Berman Post: ACORN Employees in NY Give Advice to Pimp on Tax Evasion And Prostitution
Berman Post: Patricia Jessamy, The Person Who Decides Who to Prosecute in The ACORN Scandal, is an Avid Obama Supporter / Contributor
Berman Post: Johanns Amendment #2355 to H.R. 3288 Passes - Senate Votes to Defunds ACORN Housing
Berman Post: Lack of ACORN Scandal Coverage in MSM, And Obama's Connection to ACORN
Berman Post: ACORN Was Operating Illegally in Maryland?
Berman Post: ACORN Employee in San Bernardino (California) Give Advice to Pimp on Tax Evasion And Prostitution
Berman Post: RICO Charges Warranted Against ACORN?
Berman Post: Jon Stewart Skewers The Main Stream Media Over Ignoring ACORN Controversy
Berman Post: ACORN Employee in San Bernardino (California) Give Advice to Pimp on Tax Evasion And Prostitution (Part Two)
Berman Post: Andrew Cuomo And Christine Quinn Moving to Freeze ACORN (NY) Funding Pending an Investigation

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