[Illustration by ALEX FINE]

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Brooklyn prosecutors on Monday cleared ACORN of criminal wrongdoing after a four-month probe that began when undercover conservative activists filmed workers giving what appeared to be illegal advice on how to hide money. While the video by James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles seemed to show three ACORN workers advising a prostitute how to hide ill-gotten gains, the unedited version was not as clear, according to a law enforcement source. “They edited the tape to meet their agenda,” said the source. “On Sept. 15, 2009, my office began an investigation into possible acorn_30227_lgthumbnail.thumbnail.gifcriminality on the part of three ACORN employees,” Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said in a one-paragraph statement issued Monday afternoon. “That investigation is now concluded and no criminality has been found.” MORE

NEW YORK TIMES: In a statement, Kevin Whelan, an Acorn spokesman, said that the group had been attacked “because of our successful work to empower hundreds of thousands of low- and moderate-families as voters and active citizens.” “Hopefully today’s announcement, and similar results from independent reviews, will make politicians and media examine the facts more carefully the next time a valuable community organization is attacked.” MORE

POLITICO: The embattled liberal group ACORN is in the process of dissolving its national structure, with state and local-chapters splitting off from the underfunded, controversial national group, an official close to the group confirmed. “ACORN has dissolved as a national structure of state organizations,” said a senior official close to the group, who declined to be identified by name because of the fierce conservative attacks on the group that began when a conservative filmmaker caught some staffers of its tax advisory arms on tape appearing to offer advice on incorporating a prostitution business. The videos proved a rallying point for conservatives who had long accused the group of fomenting voting fraud. Though the videos did not produce criminal charges, they appear to have been fatal to the national organization. “Consistent with what the internal recommendations have been, each of the states are acorn_30227_lgthumbnail.thumbnail.gifdeveloping plans for reconstitution independence and self-sufficiency,” said the official, citing ACORN’s “diminished resources, damage to the brand, unprecedented attacks.” MORE

SALON: The pimp and ho costumes were a send-up of over-the-top racial stereotypes that both reinforced some very ugly notions about the African American community, but more importantly, made these ACORN workers look as though they were so dumb they shouldn’t be allowed to cross the street, much less handle tax dollars. And this was done for a reason. The little dirty tricksters, it turns out, had relied on some other stereotypes to perform this sting — he had dressed like a nice, young, preppie fellow, just trying to help this unfortunate young white girl caught in a bad situation in order to gain the ACORN workers’ trust and compassion. He used his stereotypical innocent, youthful, studiously upstanding looks to create a false impression with the ACORN workers and then turned around and filmed some bogus footage of him dressed in a ridiculous pimp costume to give a false impression to the mostly white audience. It was a very clever way to use racial stereotypes on both groups to get what he wanted. MORE

MEDIA MATTERS: It turns out that Andrew Breitbart didn’t actually know what was on the ACORN tapes when he helped launch them on his [] website last year, and used the videos to fuel his oddly personal crusade against the low-income advocacy organization. The dressed-acorn_30227_lgthumbnail.thumbnail.gifas-a-pimp storyline was one Breitbart, O’Keefe, and others eagerly pushed last fall. And it was one the press quickly embraced. (In truth, O’Keefe was often dressed rather conservatively — slacks and dress shirt — when he talked to ACORN staffers, and he often presented himself as a law school student and an aspiring politician trying to rescue his prostitute girlfriend from her abusive pimp.) The outlandish costume was used as a prop to both mislead viewers, and to make ACORN staffers look like idiots for not being able to spot the obvious ruse. But it was all a hoax. And for weeks now, ever since the trick was highlighted by blogger Brad Friedman, Breitbart has been wrestling with the glaring contradiction and struggling to explain his own role in the hoax. He’s been straining to explain why, for instance, in a September 21 column in The Washington Times, Breitbart specifically claimed O’Keefe had been “dressed as a pimp” while receiving tax advice from ACORN workers. That claim was categorically false. MORE

BIG GOVERNMENT: ACORN does indeed operate like the Mafia, but it more closely resembles another organization that began as an affiliate of the Democratic Party, the Ku Klux Klan.  Aside from intimidating some bank executives, ACORN does not engage in violence, but like the KKK it has vote fraud as a top priority. […] Like ACORN, the Ku Klux Klan operated with impunity until Republican politicians and journalists sounded an alarm.  In 1869, Nathan Bedford Forrest, the KKK’s Grand Dragon, ordered the Klan disbanded.  Why?  The national organization was getting too much attention, so Klansmen would have to soldier on in state-level organizations, such as the Red Shirts in South Carolina and the Men of Justice in Alabama.   Nonetheless, most members of these spin-off groups considered themselves to be Klansmen. MORE

PREVIOUSLY: Why The Right Hates ACORN, How They Took Them Down, And Why Philly Didn’t Take The Bait

PREVIOUSLY: The Nutcracker Strikes Back!


PREVIOUSLY: WHAT HE SAID: Cracking The Nutcracker

PREVIOUSLY: Q&A: With ACORN Founder Wade Rathke


PREVIOUSLY: Harshbarger Report Clears ACORN Of Illegality In ‘Pimp & Hooker’ Gotcha Videos

PREVIOUSLY: ‘Pimp’ From ACORN Sting Videos Arrested By FBI For Wiretapping Senator’s Phone


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