After the Census Bureau responded to a Freedom of Information Act request, Judicial Watch reported that
…the Obama Commerce Department downplayed ACORNâ€™s participation in the Census, and labeled â€œbaselessâ€ the notion that ACORN would be involved in any Census count…[but]…offered ACORN the opportunity to â€œrecruit Census workersâ€ who would participate in the count. Moreover, as an â€œexecutive levelâ€ partner, ACORN has the ability to â€œorganize and/or serve as a member on a Complete Count Committee,â€ which, according to Census documents, helps â€œdevelop and implement locally based outreach and recruitment campaigns.â€
According to its application ACORN also signed up to: â€œEncourage employees and constituents to complete and mail their questionnaire; identify job candidates and/or distribute and display recruiting materials; appoint a liaison to work with the Census Bureau; provide space for Be Counted sites and/or Questionnaire Assistance Centers; sponsor community events to promote participation in the 2010 Census,â€ among 18 requested areas of responsibility. The documents also show the decision to add ACORN as a partner occurred in February, long after the January 15th Census partnership application deadline. (One Census official had bet â€œit was under Bush.â€)
Then last week the government reported that the layoff of Census workers comprised the bulk of the jobs just lost in the federal government: â€œEmployment in federal government fell by 49,000 in June, largely due to the layoff of workers temporarily hired to prepare for Census 2010.â€
Whatâ€™s wrong with this picture? The federal government isnâ€™t exactly on an austerity binge right now.
Given that the Obama administration lied about ACORNâ€™s involvement in the Census, it might be lying now about the laid off workers being temporary employees. Is the way being cleared for ACORN workers to be hired?
If the administration hadnâ€™t triedÂ to move oversight of the Census into the White House and thenÂ lied about ACORN’s high-level participation in planning for the 2010 Census, the news of the layoffs would not have caught my attention.
However, it did attempt the Census power play andÂ lie about ACORNâ€™s involvement in the Census, soÂ reasonable observers have every reason to be suspicious.
Former ACORN organizer Gregory Hall recently warnedÂ in a Washington Examiner op-ed about the dangers of letting ACORN participate in theÂ Census:
There is no reason to believe the problems of staff mistreatment or systematic fraud will be any different if and when the federal government asks ACORN to take its show on the road to households across the country.