Mar 20 2009

Shelby to Obama: Census Should Not Become a Political Tool

Today, U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) wrote a letter to President Barack Obama expressing his concern regarding the recent announcement that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) has signed as a national partner with the U.S. Census Bureau to assist with recruiting temporary census workers.

“The people of this nation deserve a census that is conducted in a fair and accurate manner, using the best methods to determine the outcome, and that is free from political tampering,” said Shelby. “Given ACORN’s history and political connections, the U.S. Census Bureau should not partner with an organization that has systemic problems with both accuracy and legitimacy.”

The full text of the letter is below:

March 20, 2009

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20500

Dear President Obama,

I am writing with great concern regarding the recent announcement that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) has signed as a national partner with the U.S. Census Bureau to assist with recruiting temporary census workers.

Past allegations of fraud should raise great concern about the accuracy of data provided by this organization.   Washington State filed felony charges in 2007 against several paid ACORN employees and supervisors for falsifying 1,700 fraudulent voter registration cards.  An ACORN worker in Pennsylvania was sentenced in 2008 for fabricating 29 falsified voter registration forms.  In Ohio in 2004, a worker for one affiliate was given crack cocaine in exchange for fraudulent registrations that included underage, as well as dead, voters.  ACORN has been implicated in similar voter registration schemes around the country and its activities were frequently questioned throughout the 2008 presidential election.

To keep the census nonpartisan, we cannot allow a biased, politically-active organization taking any type of official role in the process, let alone recruitment.  By over counting here, and under counting there, manipulation could take place solely for political gain.  Using ACORN to mobilize hundreds of thousands of temporary workers can surely lead to abuses for those who want to gain political advantage, just as we saw with the voter registration issues in past elections.  The laws that govern voter fraud were not enough to dissuade those with the intent to throw an election and it is doubtful that the laws governing fraud in the census will be any more effective against such deceitful intents.

The people of this nation deserve a census that is conducted in a fair and accurate manner, using the best methods to determine the outcome, and that is free from political tampering.  Given ACORN’s history and political connections, the U.S. Census Bureau should not partner with an organization that has systemic problems with both accuracy and legitimacy.  We must not let the census become a blatant political tool.

                                                                                    Sincerely,

 

                                                                                    Richard Shelby