by Kevin Mooney
Political operatives connected with renamed ACORN affiliates are in position to help swing close, competitive races for left-leaning candidates in the 2012 elections, according to former insiders and policy analysts who are familiar with the network’s operations.
An ambitious rebranding scheme that began earlier this year has now accelerated to include affiliates in at least 12 states. The bankruptcy filing the organization slyly submitted on Election Day is properly viewed as “a head fake” and a “public relations gimmick” arranged to distract attention away from the partisan political activities of renamed affiliates, sources say.
It is worth recalling that the organization known in full as the Association of Community Activists for Reform Now had initially denied reports that it would be dropping its tarnished name in press statements released in the summer of 2009.
Wade Rathke, who founded ACORN in 1970, had announced on his blog that ACORN International, one of many affiliate organizations, had officially changed its name to “Community Organizations International.” Former board members who came together under the banner of ACORN 8 in response to an embezzlement scandal saw the move as a possible opener to a larger rebranding effort.
Scott Levenson, a spokesman for organization’s national leadership, issued a statement claiming that the name has not been dropped and that Rathke is no longer connected with ACORN.
“ACORN is not changing its name,” he declared. “ACORN International, is a five-year old organization from which ACORN withdrew a year ago as part of an overall restructuring process and requested that they stop using the ACORN name, which they have now done. Wade Rathke was fired as Chief Organizer of ACORN in June 2008.”