EJS Statement on ACORN

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) has championed the rights of low and moderate income level families for more than three decades. With the backing of 400,000 member families in about 75 cities across 40 states, ACORN has become a target of the Right Wing de-legitimization machine. Just as Van Jones was recently attacked with half-truths and outright lies in order to remove him from his position, so have the same forces politically assaulted ACORN for years.

It is unfortunate that the actions of few staff members would hurt the capacity of such a large organization. ACORN has taken the proper steps to remedy any potential irregularities by securing the services of former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger. He will lead an independent inquiry into the organizational systems and processes surrounding the services of the organization.

Mr. Harshbarger said of the process: “I have been asked by the leadership of ACORN to conduct an independent and comprehensive inquiry and review of the management of its service delivery to communities. The CEO and Board have also asked me to make a full report, including recommendations for restoring ACORN’s full capacities to carry out its mission on behalf of low- and moderate-income families.”

In the meantime, ACORN has suspended accepting new clients into its service programs for working-poor families including tax preparation, housing assistance programs, and benefits screening until the independent review is completed.

As promoters of racial, social and economic justice, the Equal Justice Society continues to support ACORN, its mission and its constituents. We do not support any actions that will further impair the ability of low and moderate income people to seek and access much-needed assistance. Thus, we find it regrettable that the House took the first steps to eliminate federal funding for ACORN’s services. Instead, we believe the process for seeking the truth and proper consequences includes awaiting the findings of Scott Harshbarger and holding only the necessary people accountable for any wrongdoing.

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