Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, obtained yesterday a collection of documents and emails – 126 pages worth – detailing exactly what level of involvement ACORN will have in the 2010 Census, and what role a “Partner” for the US Census Bureau plays. It was obtained under threat of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. (Yeah, you go Judicial Watch!!!)
After I read through all of the documents, I was left more confused than anything. And probably more disturbed than before. The majority of the emails between the Census Bureau employees and other internal agencies indicate that most seem to be less interested in getting to the truth, and far more concerned about
“the need to be able to counter the chorus of critics trying to allege that there is widespread likelihood that census takers could breach the public trust.” (pg 111, Jeri Green, Chief, Census Advisory Committee Office)
Another email, from Kevin Griffis, even seems to imply that there may be some political pressure being placed on Congress members who dare to voice their concerns. In response to the letter that Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama wrote to President Obama on March 20, 2009, Mr. Griffis advised staffers this:
“Seems like there needs to be some political outreach to Shelby’s office. Who does that? Also, let’s make sure to monitor this paper this weekend.”
(The paper referenced is the Huntsville Times of Alabama, which had published a story referencing Shelby’s letter and his concerns).
And then, there’s this email that seems more concerned with perpetuating the myth that any concerns over ACORN are just manufactured by Rush Limbaugh and the Republicans:
The end result of all this back and forth between staffers and agencies is a single message at which they arrived to provide their employees receiving incoming calls “from angry callers” and for the media (specifically for Fox News, according to their rather biased written gripes, if you asked me). That set of talking points, addressing who’s eligible and who’s not for Census Partners:
And then, they refer to the points that are provided with the program materials for Census Partners, indicating what roles a partner may play in the US Census. Here is ACORN’s application, indicating the role they will play in the Census:
The Census Bureau’s official statement on ACORN’s role in the Census:
“Any charge or claim that a Census Bureau partner could influence or have direct input into census operations is baseless and inaccurate. The sole entity that will be conducting the 2010 Census is the U.S. Census Bureau, along with its hundreds of thousands of dedicated workers. Period.
“Further, the Census Bureau has strict quality assurance prcedures in every operation to prevent the introduction of errors and/or fraudulent information into the national count.
The Census Bureau remains committed to producing an accurate 2010 census count–counting everyone once, only once, and in the right place.”
Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.
(No, I mean it…consider ACORN a group to be fearful of, and they can’t be eligible as a Census Partner)
Well, here are my own personal follow-ups on this:
- After reading the documents and seeing the manner in which internal Census Bureau and other agency employees interact with each other in response to a mere Fox News story, I am not encouraged that even the Census employees really understand what the ACORN concerns are all about, nor do they seem to care in the slightest about restoring the confidence of the American people. It’s easily discernable simply from the tone of their official statement above. Any public figure who ends a statement by spelling out the word “period” is being nothing but defensive. Last I checked, the claims were against ACORN, not them. (However, now I wonder…)
- While the Census Bureau repeatedly insists that ACORN will have no ability to influence ANYTHING in the Census, the claim seems a bit disingenuous. Any partner, according to their own materials, is asked to, among other things “Encourage employees and constituents to complete and mail their questionnaire…send an endorsement to members, chapters or affiliates…volunteer or participate in Census sponsored events.” By their very nature, these activities put ACORN members and volunteers in contact with those who will be receiving and completing census questionnaires. It gives ACORN the opportunity to speak to those recipients, verbally or in writing. It gives ACORN the opportunity to try and influence the way that recipients should answer their questions. Given that ACORN is publicly running several campaigns to influence the redistricting of several congressional districts in an effort to better influence the outcome of federal funding awards and policy decisions in their favor.
- Given that its own employees speak about enforcing “some political outreach” to members of Congress who try to speak out about their concerns with ACORN, I doubt that Congress will make any headway with any investigation of ACORN, whether it’s related to the census or not. So much for the will of The People.
- The Census Bureau defines a partner ineligible to participate if it is “a hate group…or if it is a law enforcement, anti-immigration group, or any group that might make people fearful of participating in the census.”
First, I’d call ACORN a hate group. Their good intentions have far been overshadowed by the forceful, mob tactics used in programs like “Muscle for the Money” and by the reverse racist rhetoric against any person who is not a minority and questions in any way their fundraising and bookeeping practices.
But more importantly, I will be fearful of participating in the census if any person from ACORN comes to my door, even if only for pre-census counting activities, as the bureau claims. I do not want ACORN at my door, ever. Therefore, I will not participate in the census if ACORN is involved. If that means I’ll need a lawyer, then so be it. Now, to whom must I write my letter???
Hat Tip: Judicial Watch