The announcement was made Wednesday by the former head of the California branch, Amy Schur.
Schur says the 37,000-member state chapter broke away this week to form a new nonprofit group, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. Schur, who's executive director, says the new group will have many of the same staff members and the community-organizing mission.
Schur says ACORN has been damaged by internal mistakes and what she calls "vicious politically motivated attacks" by conservatives. Critics accuse the group of voter-registration fraud, and an embarrassing sting video made last year showed ACORN workers advising a woman posing as a prostitute how to launder earnings.