The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, aka ACORN, was, until the past year, a relatively unknown organization to most Americans. Founded in 1970 and based in New Orleans, Louisiana, ACORN’s most visible face is that of a 501(c)(3) public charity ostensibly advocating for low- and moderate-income families in the areas of neighborhood safety, voter registration, health care, affordable housing, and other social issues. ACORN also has a non-charitable arm that lobbies for primarily left-wing causes and candidates, as well as dozens of affiliated splinter groups. ACORN’s “charitable” division receives millions upon millions of dollars in federal grant money each year.
ACORN’s profile increased dramatically during last year’s presidential campaign, with then-Senator Obama’s candidacy and subsequent victory, himself having been a community organizer with close ties to the group. The problems for ACORN started when numerous chapters were busted for voter registration fraud. Estimates go as high as 400,000 falsely registered voters, including Mickey Mouse and Paul Newman. ACORN’s voter registration program is under investigation in 14 states, with over 30 indictments having been handed down so far with likely many more to come.