September 23rd, 2009
02:41 PM ET
12 years ago

Census Director addresses politics of 2010 count

WASHINGTON (CNN) - In the first monthly briefing in the run-up to the start of the 2010 Census, the director of the Census Bureau was frank Wednesday about the constant political pressures his agency is under but the Census Director Robert Groves insisted that the upcoming national count will be conducted in a nonpartisan way.

"There are tugs on us daily to get into the political fray," Groves said in a press conference at the National Press Club Wednesday. "It's my firm belief that the basis of credibility of the Census rests on the belief of the American public that we are nonpartisan and we're apolitical and we're a professional statistical bureau. And I need to fight that battle daily."

Groves called use of census data in reapportionment, the process of determining how many seats there will be in the House of Representatives, an "inherently, explicitly political" use of his agency's information that "is proper, that's constitutional, the founders thought about it. It's a great idea."

"What we have to do," Groves added, "is to acknowledge that the product of what we do has political uses but the process can never be politicized."

Concerns voiced mostly by conservatives and congressional Republicans about the Census Bureau's relationship with embattled community organizing group ACORN recently led the agency to put an end to the group's involvement in outreach for the upcoming national count.

Asked about ACORN Wednesday, Groves said that the agency never had a contract with the controversial group, which had been planning to work with the agency on an entirely voluntary basis.

"When one of our partners produces problems in the overall mission of the Census, then we have to rethink that [relationship]," said Groves.

"I want to carefully say that the people served by ACORN are important to us. We need their participation in the Census," Groves also said.

Groves also said his agency is operationally on target to begin the next constitutionally-mandated national head count, which takes place every 10 years, roughly six months from now.

Updated: 2:41 p.m.

Filed under: ACORN • Census
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Razorback

    Sorry guys, ACORN brought this on themselves. The pimp 'n ho fiasco isn't the only thing that damaged their credibility. Remember the voter registration fiasco last year? Just a few more "rogue" employees, I'm sure. Any organization helping conduct the census should be non partisan. Better yet, the Census Bureau should do it all with their own people.

    September 23, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  2. John in Camden

    Blue states like MA, MI, NY, NJ, IL, and PA are going to lose seats in the Census and will continue losing in the future. Red states like TX, UT, AZ, GA, and SC are going to gain. Goodbye, Northeastern political clout! Two thousand twelve will be a landslide for the Republican over Obama.

    September 23, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. LacrosseMom


    That's ALL the GOPers have to complain about! Good grief! This organization IS being investigated..... Okay? Enough already!

    President Obama KNOWS that ACORN was getting Federal MONEY!

    ACORN HAS BEEN getting Federal Funds........ EVEN FROM BUSH!

    SO....... let me get this straight, the definition of a "Patriot" is one that calls out the president, right??? GOP?

    SO.... WHY IS IT (sorry for yelling!) that when we, on the Left, call out and protested against BUSH LIES, you people, called US........ Anti-American and UN-Patriotic?

    September 23, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  4. Libertarian

    Anyone else see the irony here? Conservatives INVENTED gerrymandering! All that aside, I believe what the Obama administration is trying to stop is the policy of "statistical insertion". That means that the Census Bureau has, of late, NOT been counting all Americans. They've been using a statistical sampling to INSERT people in census belts as they saw fit. We all know how much everyone here believes in Polls.

    Do you want to use a random poll of 1500 people in your district to settle how many seats in Congress you get?

    The Constitution does NOT specify which agency should govern the census. It ONLY states that there should be head-count and how often. Escalating the Census to a Cabinet seat is removing it from layers and layers of politics.

    September 23, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. Steph

    I think Razorback is a Socialist..."Census Bureau should do it all with their own people". Big goverment! NO WAY!The federal government should issue a no-bid contract to Haliburton. That is true capitalism!

    September 23, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. Some republican guy

    "But I'm SO SURE Uhbama was unaware of these goings ons. Maybe ACORN's HQ was in Rev. Wrights church. UHBama didn't seem to know anything that went on in his past."

    Obama went to church??? I thought he was a Muslim. Now I'm really confused. Have a nice day!

    September 23, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  7. Bob the Observer

    When the Framers of the Constitution introduced the Census, they had no idea that our nation would not even last eight years before partisan politics began to infect it. They made no provisions for the ignorant partisan mind sets that we see from both sides on this board.

    The census was never intended for partisan purposes; rather, it was to apportion congressional representation so that every American had a voice.

    What I never hear in any of these silly arguments about the census is a concern for the individual American voice. All I hear are loud-mouthed partisans from both sides. The census can no longer serve its purpose. Another article of the Constitution has been made of no effect.

    September 23, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  8. NH Independent

    Democrats aren't bad their just ignorant........

    Acorn+SEIU+Apollo+NEA+Radical Czars=Socialist, Marxist-Radical-Progressive Wingnuts that obama surrounds himself with.

    Democrats just can't wrap their heads around the fact that obama is a socialist.....which is take from people who do and give to people who don't.....This is Socialism 101

    Just for Fun--interesting tid bit, in the 41 speeches given to the nation since his inauguration (34 weekly, 7 major addresses), not including the 5 network interview blitz this past Sunday, Obama mentions himself 1,198 times (1,121 I's and 77 me's)...No ego there!

    September 23, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  9. Mike in MN

    Any organization participating in the census needs to be thoughly veted and squeaky clean. ACORN rightly so has no business being anywhere near the census process.
    Any attempt to corrupt the census to move red electoral votes or number of state representatives to blue states would be meet with riots in the streets.
    There must be no question about the honesty of the census process.

    September 23, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. Randolph Carter

    Socialism schmocialism. There never has been, nor will there ever be a purely capitalist or purely socialist nation. Every nation that has ever existed was a mixture of both. Don't worry, I won't trot out the public schools or the fire dept. Get over it. Have a nice day!

    September 23, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  11. sir magneto

    Quite clearly the census should be turned over to Acorn. Acorn is just another nut in a squirrels mouth. Liberals are the new conservatives.

    September 23, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  12. LacrosseMom

    One has to laugh at the tactics of the GOPers! For decades, every time we have a Democrat in the White House, the fear mongering and hate come out!

    In the 40's, 50's & 60's the GOP shouted "the commies are coming!"

    In 2004, they shouted "the terrorists are coming!"

    Now its back to the "socialists, Marxists, communists..... " and Muslims!

    GOP, you do realize how silly you people appear always being SO afraid?!

    America voted for President Obama, because we are sick and tired of the GOP politics, of fear, hate, lies and division.

    Make your points without hate, lies and name calling and then perhaps, we will have an intelligent debate!

    September 23, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
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