September 23rd, 2009
02:41 PM ET
11 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. Doug, New Jersey

    If it weren't for those two patriots bringing this nation the truth about Obama's ACORN, they still would be conducting the census. There is absolutely nothing bi-partisan about Obama's ACORN, they are all left wing nuts. I expect another anti-American socialist group to take ACORN's place, you know Obama is following the Alinsky manual, this extremist needs to fix the census or his band of socialist thugs will be voted out in '12.

    September 23, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  2. S M R

    The DEMS have a HUGE MAJORITY and WILL show our strength at the polls come 2010, 2012 and beyond!!!

    September 23, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. Fool me once shame on u, fool me twice... err...

    Republicans are so obsessed with ACORN, it's hysterical!
    They wake up at night from bad ACORN nightmares.

    Thank God Sen. McCain got his butt handed to him. If the election had been close, we would never hear the end of how ACORN stole the election for Barack Hussein Obama!

    We won!

    WH, please hire Paul Begala as Push Back/Cut The Crap czar!

    September 23, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  4. Jessie

    What's really sad is that ACORN has thousands of branches and three were implicated, now the whole organization has to suffer. What this is really about from the GOP is finding a way to demonize organizations that actually count minorities for the census instead of avoiding the neighborhoods, like other census workers have done. That way, they can redraw districts or cause representatives of minority districts to lose their seats.

    What's really sad is that the champions of sending ACORN to the guillotine not only don't realize that Pres. Obama has nothing to do with ACORN, but C Street probably gets more federal funds than ACORN does.

    September 23, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. Terry from West Texas

    The ancient Greeks selected some of their officials by drawing lots. They each had to meet certain qualifications first, of course. That may be a better method than elections.

    Ten minutes after the first election was held, someone started thinking of ways to fix the next one.

    For those of you who hate ACORN because some of its employees have committed crimes, let me say that Tom Delay on a bad day could do more damage to the Republic than ACORN will in a century.

    September 23, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. obama the liar

    obama–'i was unaware that acorn was getting federal money'-LIAR

    September 23, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |

    Republicans have been trying to find ways to corrupt nonpartisan agencies and bureaus of the government at least since Karl Rove acted as Bush's brain.

    Even the Justice Department and federal prosecutors weren't safe when Rove was around.

    So it's no wonder that they're up to the same nonsense yet again.

    What's ironic is that these are the same people who say that government doesn't work and can't help solve the country's problems.



    September 23, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  8. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Of course, ACORN and its officials are innocent until proven guilty of any wrongdoing, but because the Constitutional census is so important, the implications of possible fraudulent performance by ACORN are sufficient to prohibit their participation as an agent of the government.

    September 23, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  9. Nagudcm Sugna

    The politics are that the dems want to know way too much about you. The great deception of all… Liberals have everyone thinking that they are so freedom loving, but when you look under the cover it is quite different. Remember that liberals / Democrats want to increase spending and create more laws which in turn creates more government to administrate and enforce. They survive by expanding government. That means intrusion into our freedoms. Every law, be it good or be it bad, forces restrictions of some sort. Therefore, liberals / Democrats are control freaks even though they have created an image that makes one believe they are all about freedoms.

    Think about it.

    Ralph... Have a nice day.

    September 23, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  10. Ren from Baltimore

    ACORN's reputation has been, quite justifiably, damaged. Pending results from the investigations into the "pimping" and other illegal advice-giveing at several big-city offices of ACORN, any business between ACORN and any part of our government must be suspended. If and when the agency has been found to be in full compliance, and its procedures, training and personnel found to also be in compliance, suspension can be revisited. But not until then.

    The Census has, indeed, national and international significance. If we can't get our own population numbers and profiles straight, we are in no position to judge other nations' standings, such as Afghanistan, Palestine, or Israel.

    September 23, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  11. Chris - MN

    Let's have a contest to guess how the right is going to twist this into fear-mongering, which will then be reported on with only minimal fact-checking.

    I'm predicting that a prominent GOP senator, over the age of 60, will say that the census is part of a plan to fit the american citizens with mind-controlling cranial implants.

    September 23, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  12. Kevin in Ohio

    As long as they keep ACORN types out of the mix, and don't do "estimates", it will be Constitutional.

    September 23, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  13. Young independent

    This should be interesting. I'm sure republicans will have a ton of concerns. Democrates can't wait for this to happen soon enough. the Dems may just win even more seats because of redistricting this time around. The repubss are screwed

    September 23, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |

    How can you have a TRUE census when I recieve notghing and NO ONE stopped, Must have been Acorn or Democrattes because I saw them drive by everyones houses, but NEVER STOPPED. I would say it supports OBAMA LIES.

    September 23, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  15. some republican guy

    The census is conducted so that ACORN, the union thugs and the evil obamabots know where to look for you when it's your turn to face the death panel. They send their helicopters to get you. I strongly urge all the real Americans (conservatives) to boycott the census. Have a nice day!

    September 23, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  16. Reagan was wrong

    The problem is that no matter how thorough Mr. Groves is in his logical, fact-based explanations of the Census Bureau's non-partisan nature and methodologies

    -The Becks and Limbaughs will make stuff up anyway (for ratings)
    -Elected GOP officials will not only NOT repudiate these claims, but will instead promote them to score cheap political points
    -This misinformation and wild conspiracy theories will continue to stoke an already-volatile GOP base.

    All we can do is hope for the best.

    September 23, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  17. Steph

    The conservatives seem to have a problem with poor people. They would prefer to ignore them and hope they go away. More middle to low income people will go away (die) if they continue to oppose health care reform. Maybe that is the real goal behind their "just say no" strategy.

    September 23, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  18. Carlos

    I'm sure by the time the elections come around that uhbamama will say that ACORN has gotten rid of a few bad nuts and their help is very much needed by the democrits to count the votes.

    September 23, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  19. Deep Throat

    The only way to de-politicize the census is to move it out of the
    White House, where Obama ordered it moved; and return it to the
    Commerce Dept. where it's been for decades. It is the intention of
    Robert Groves to count illegal aliens as if they were citizens,
    according to the race-driven La Raza.

    September 23, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  20. lovable liberal

    When you get right down to it, Republicans hate ACORN because even just counting residents in poor neighborhoods helps Democrats hold onto seats in Congress.

    September 23, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  21. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Obama has already politicized the census by moving it under White House control. We can expect that 12 million illegals will be counted as citizens destroying the Constitutional mandate on representation.

    September 23, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  22. Kevin in Ohio

    If ACORN or any other Obamabots are involved in next year's census, we need to all fight fire with fire. I will say I am a poor minority who cant help himself and is entitled to everything the rich people have.

    September 23, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  23. G2

    ACORN should not be part of the Census they are a corrupt organization. In fact, no private politically active group should be working for the census bureau. If ACORN or SEIU or any non-government political organization person comes to my house with a census I will ask them to leave immediately. My personal information is none of their business. I am worried that there are other "activist" organizations like ACORN that I don't even know about that are supposed to help with the census and will miss count or overcount or lie on forms like ACORN workers did with the last election. Why not simplify the Census to only the least amount of necessary info and have people send it in with their tax form?

    September 23, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    Politically, the Census is a bunch of CRAP! It is basically used by both parties to shore up registered voters in the Congressonial districts to ensure re-election. The Republicans have already moved up the last census for their political gain, especially in Texas, but it backfired and Delay got beat.

    September 23, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  25. Farrell in Houston

    I agree that Acorn should not be permitted in the census processand neither should the Republicans be permitted to use the "Tom DeLay Playbook" to hammer their way into the WH.

    September 23, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
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