WASHINGTON (CNN) – A report that the Obama administration will name an advocate of statistical sampling as the next census director has set off a fusillade of Republican criticism even though that choice has not been formally announced.
The Associated Press reported Thursday afternoon that the White House intends to nominate University of Michigan Prof. Robert M. Groves as the census director. Groves worked for the Census Bureau during the last census in 1990, and recommended at that time that the national head count be statistically adjusted to compensate for a possible undercount of millions of Americans.
"If true, this is an incredibly troubling selection that contradicts the Administration's assurances that the census process would not be used to advance an ulterior political agenda," California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa said in a statement. "We have a constitutional obligation to count every American – not use the end result of a statistical formula. . . . Mr. Groves will have every opportunity to address these concerns during the confirmation process."
The reaction from North Carolina Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry was even more forceful. "The fight to protect the accuracy and independence of the 2010 Census has just begun," McHenry, ranking member on a House subcommittee with jurisdiction over the census, said Thursday.
President Obama's decision to nominate Sen. Judd Gregg, a Republican from New Hampshire, as Commerce Secretary sparked partisan concern on both sides of the aisle over the 2010 census. Gregg subsequently withdrew his name from consideration for the Cabinet post in part over policy differences with the new administration over the 2010 census.