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									Census Manipulation: Politicizing the Count                                                             5/3/09 3:47 PM

  Census Manipulation: Politicizing the Count
  Written by Ann Shibler
  Tuesday, 10 February 2009 14:29

  As the 2010 Census approaches, President Obama is making plans to transfer the entire census-taking process
  — and ultimately, its outcome — to the White House, away from the Commerce Department and outside of
  any court review.

  That means that the Secretary of Commerce — most
  likely Judd Gregg — would not be coordinating or
  overseeing any aspect of the census. Instead it would
  be handed to Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff.
  And there’s the rub.

  Emanuel may be able to manipulate the outcome by
  “tweaking” the process — abolishing the direct door-
  to-door count and instituting the “sampling” technique
  (more of a projection or estimation) — and therefore,
  he will be able to redraw Congressional districts and
  electoral college numbers. Of course, other spending is
  affected by population counts such as improvements to
  infrastructure and social programs.

  Cooking the books is far easier when sampling is used,
  as opposed to a more honest canvassing of the people.
  President Clinton already tried this technique in a                        Rahm Emanuel
  limited fashion, and in 1999, amazingly enough, the
  Supreme Court said sampling could not be used in redistricting. But usurping the process and placing it in the
  White House would eliminate any such hazard.

  According to a White House spokesperson "there is historic precedent for the director of the census, who
  works for the Commerce secretary and the president, to work closely with White House senior management -
  given the number of decisions that will have to be put before the president."

  The LA Times reported that the move was pushed by several minority groups. The National Association of
  Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) claims they are worried about the Commerce Department being able to
  produce an accurate count of the nation’s people.

  But the Constitution of the United States says that in counting the people, an actual “enumeration” shall be
  used, and Title 13 of the U.S. Code says the Bureau of the Census is “an agency within, and under the
  jurisdiction of, the Department of Commerce,” and that the census is to be be administered “within, and
  under the jurisdiction of, the Department of Commerce.”

  House Minority Leader John Boehner opposes the switch to White House oversight. "The United States
  Census should remain independent of politics; it should not be directed by political operatives working out of
  the White House," he said. He told Fox News Sunday that the move signals a new politicalization of the

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Census Manipulation: Politicizing the Count                                                                 5/3/09 3:47 PM

           The Constitution says that every ten years there will be a count of all persons who live in the
           United States. That means that we need to have an actual count. And why this has to be moved
           from the Commerce Department over to the chief of staff’s office, I would think he’d have better
           things to do, than to coordinate the census, but apparently they have ideas about what they might
           want to do to politicize the counting of our population next year.

  Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) have sent a letter containing some pretty sharp
  comments based on remarkably good constitutional principles to the White House protesting the plan to
  transfer census authority, duly noting that the move is probably a violation of a federal law:

           Requiring the Census Director to report directly to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is
           a shamefully transparent attempt by your Administration to politicize the Census Bureau and
           manipulate the 2010 Census. The Constitutionally-mandated Decennial Census needs to be fair,
           accurate and trusted. By circumventing the Secretary of Commerce’s oversight of the Census
           Bureau and handing it directly to a political operative such as Mr. Emanuel, you are severely
           jeopardizing the fairness and accuracy of the 2010 Census. Mr. Emanuel, who is a former
           colleague and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman, has a reputation that
           has been described as “one of hyper-partisanship,” and thus has no business overseeing the
           activities of the Census Bureau, a division of the Commerce Department that needs to remain
           free and clear of any and all political considerations...

           As you know, the Decennial Census is not only Constitutionally-mandated; the results of it are
           utilized in the allocation of federal funding and the apportionment of seats in the U.S. House of
           Representatives. As such, the Census process needs to be completely free of political
           manipulation and interference, in order to produce fair, accurate and trustworthy results. This will
           be impossible if you follow through with proposed plans to outrageously and without precedence
           circumvent the Secretary of Commerce and place direct oversight of the Census Bureau in the
           hands of the hyper-partisan White House Chief of Staff. This decision will also jeopardize
           Census Program funding and trigger unanimous opposition to your next Census Director out of
           fear that a respectable Federal agency is being politicized. For these reasons we respectfully
           request that you not follow through with a course of action that will shamefully politicize the
           operations of the Census Bureau and jeopardize the fairness and accuracy of the 2010 Census.

  One senior Republican Senate aide who wished to remain anonymous told a Washington Post blogger that
  letting the census “be run out of Rahm’s office is like putting PETA in charge of issuing hunting permits.”

 Author of this article: Ann Shibler

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