My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Breaking News from Breitbart: Census waste caught on tape in undercover sting operation

Conservative activist James O’Keefe (of ACORN fame) has produced the following video. It will be aired on Good Morning America later today:

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34 Responses to “Breaking News from Breitbart: Census waste caught on tape in undercover sting operation”

  1. anonymous Says:

    My Two Census, thank you for airing this. I’m not surprised. There are several Census workers in all regions across the U.S. who wanted to work 8 hours/day and up to 40 hours/week – they were never called. I’m sure they are p*#@%ed off when looking at this video ….

  2. NarfooSnafoo Says:

    Not surprised either. My trainers are pretty much on the ball and would nail anyone if they fudge the hours. Those guys get 18-something for a lunch break and get away with it and we did not. *grumbles*

  3. CC Sleep Says:


    There is a major item Mr. O’Keefe is not revealing that every Census Bureau employee knows: the time clock starts at the point in which you leaves their home. So if your training begins at 9:00 am and you live 30 minutes from the training site, your day begins at 8:30 as indicated on Mr. O’Keefe’s time sheet. Again, if you end training at 4:00 pm and you get home 30 minutes later, your time sheet should reflect that time, 4:30 pm.

    I do find the negligent attitude of this Census area disturbing. I am a crew leader and we were told to be very strict about recording hours with the trainees both during training and afterward. No manipulations and certainly no forged time.

    I find this video to be a bit sensational in its intent.

  4. anonymous Says:

    Did O’Keefe falisfy his census employment application or tell the truth about his January arrest? All trainees in my district had to fill those out again on the first day of training. He would have been put on non-working status as soon as that was spotted. And did Mr. Pimp Daddy actually do any enumerating or just signed up to take the tax payer’s dollar so he could CREATE another one of his faux videos?

    Once again, Pimp Boy didn’t tell the whole story, travel time, time for home study….

  5. Dairyland CL Says:

    He got a lot more out of that extra money than I could at the end. I am sure that was not exagerated a bit. Seriously though, payroll for training is usually “scripted” as instructed by the instructor. It is explained in the same way as the video explained it; it does allow for study time. As to lunch time, that is usually casual by a few minutes as many people are unfamiliar with the town or neighborhood the training is held and it takes a little more than 30 minutes to find a place, eat and come back. Such travel time is considered work time. I hope noone got fired over this nonsense.

  6. MotleyCrewLeader Says:

    Anytime one works for the state or federal level their is a sense of entitlement. We wonder how politicians become corrupt with federal tax payer money? I wish someone could do a pschological profile of the thinking. I remember in college I worked for the state doing work painting and lawn care on campus during the summer. The phrase. “Dont worry your on state time” was the rally cry. This is no different.

  7. Laney Says:

    Ha! Okay, Stephen Morse, you just lost all credibility by posting this under the category of “accountability” and with no commentary. O’Keefe is a complete partisan hack who has doctored and edited his “undercover” tapes before to make everyone in them look as incompetent as possible. He fancies himself an investigative journalist, but he’s just an entitled @ss. He’s also just been found guilty of tampering with a senator’s phones in Louisiana. This whole post is unbelievable.

  8. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    @Laney – can you not read the word “Conservative Activist” in the post?

  9. Crew Leader Says:

    I am shocked…just SHOCKED that someone would take advantage of the Federal Government like this! How could unemployed people who get a temporary job to relieve their economic misery even think of doing such a thing? “I declare…I think I feel faint…about to be overcome by the vapors.”

    Ok…so…back to reality. Is this news? Career bureaucrats have been doing this ever since Ceasar was just a twinkle in his daddy’s eye. So…now that 600,000 temps get their chance (once every 10 years) for a tiny piece of the pie…we’re going to blast ‘em?

    Are you running out of stuff to blog about, Mr. Morse?

  10. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    @Crew Leader – Nope, not running out of stuff to blog about. But the 2010 Census is running out of money, and maybe this is why…

  11. Uhh Says:

    The 2010 census is running out of money because the operation is almost over? Wouldn’t it make SENSE for it to running out of money?

    If the planners for the census knew anything this kinda thing is taken into account. You might claim they don’t know what they’re doing but I’m sure they have good analysts.

  12. Samantha Jackson Says:

    While I’ll concede that the Crew Leader was lazy in his handling of the training in filling out the D-308′s (everyone seemed to create the same “template” no matter how far away they lived), O’Keefe failed to mention that every trainee and every field employee is paid from the time they step out the front door of their own home to the time they return to their own home. He, in effect, lied when he stated the amount of time he was overpaid. Also, there are two manuals to be read and there is not time allowed during training class for reading of those manuals. Any responsible employee will read those manuals at home in order to be familiar with the material.

    Differing travel times of trainees presents a challenge for a trainer who has trainees present who live various distances from the training site. Managing the hours and break times can be a headache, but it can be done accurately with no overpayment for hours not worked. I’ve done it. I’ve managed trainees in the same class who travel 5 minutes and 1 hour each way. Lunch has to happen prior to the person who traveled one hour reaching 5 hours worked. OT needs to be requested and approved in advance for those who do travel far so as not to disrupt the verbatim training schedule. It just requires planning and thought. Can it be a pain? Yes. Can it be done? Yes. It’s necessary so that you drive home the point, from the start, that D-308′s must be accurate and that the Census Bureau will not tolerate fudging hours on the D-308. If the trainer has a lax approach to the D-308 while training the trainees how to fill it out, how can we expect any different when the enumerator is in the field, unsupervised with no actual, visual, monitoring by the CL of hours worked?

    The video and commentary by O’Keefe is misleading. No mention of travel time and he didn’t bother to read his manuals at home. But I was not pleased with what I view as a lazy Crew Leader/Trainer who didn’t want to be bothered with figuring out each individual trainee’s travel time. Instead it was easy for all of his trainees to have identical D-308′s for him to sign and approve. I don’t like lazy. But then we don’t know if this was a directive from his FOS or AMFO. Perhaps that’s what the CL’s were instructed to do in training. We sure weren’t at my LCO.

  13. anonymous Says:

    More on O’Keefe’s census stunt from the Washington Post

    “O’Keefe quit on the third day of training”


    “Mr. O’Keefe, an admitted criminal, does not disclose that he previously worked for the Census Bureau for nearly two months in 2009 without incident, allegation or complaint.”


    “A Census Bureau official also noted that O’Keefe’s decision to videotape the training sessions appears to violate Commerce Department policies against recording conversations.”

  14. communeration Says:

    This video makes a massive assumption that all crew leaders and all trainings are like this. I’m disgusted by that CL for sure. But it certainly isn’t the case to say 600,000 employees are doing the same thing. In our training we had to mark down the exact time worked and were not paid for our lunch break, as is standard. I, too, wonder about his honesty regarding his arrest in the application form.

    The ending is an hilarious exaggeration.

  15. CLA Dave Says:

    Re: “The video and commentary by O’Keefe is misleading.”

    Of course it was. That’s what he does. That this proven liar got air time on network television is more evidence of the absence of integrity in what passes for mainstream journalism in this country.

  16. end the census Says:

    Misleading sensationalism which serves only only to delegitize the countless LEGITIMATE instances of fraud and waste. The reality is outrageous in itself with no need for this sort of “truthiness”. What a shame. And what’s all that ridiculous Hollywoodish music video tacked onto the end? Thanks for turning “the cause” into a joke :(

  17. anonymous Says:

    “can you not read the word “Conservative Activist” in the post?”

    SRM – I missed your Conservative Activist title in your About page. Can you remind us who you work for again? What was the name of that grant again? I will help you out…

    Project: “My Two Census,” will examine why the 2010 census could become the most controversial data-gathering process in history. Stephen Robert Morse is the Founder and Executive Editor of, the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census. In addition to his Phillips Foundation fellowship that funds the site, he is an Erasmus Mundus scholar sponsored by the European Union, studying Journalism and Media within Globalization with a focus on financial journalism. He earned an M.A. in creative writing at the University of East Anglia in England and a B.A. in English and history at the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently working on new entrepreneurial ventures in digital media and publishing…

    The Phillips Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 to advance constitutional principles, a democratic society and a vibrant free enterprise system. In 1994, the Foundation launched its Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship Program to award grants to working print and online journalists to undertake and complete projects of their own choosing, focusing on journalism supportive of American culture and a free society. In 1999, the Foundation launched its Ronald Reagan College Leaders Scholarship Program to provide renewable cash awards to college undergraduates who demonstrate leadership on behalf of the cause of freedom, American values and constitutional principles…

    CONTACT: John Farley 202-250-3887 x609 or e-mail:

    $75,000, $50,000 and $25,000 JOURNALISM FELLOWSHIPS OFFERED BY THE PHILLIPS FOUNDATION FOR 2010 Applications Available for Print and Online Journalists

    Washington, DC, November 16, 2009 — The Phillips Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2010 Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship Program. Print and online journalists with less than 10 years of professional experience are eligible. The Foundation created this program to provide fellowships for projects by journalists who share its mission to advance constitutional principles, a democratic society and a vibrant free enterprise system.

    The Phillips Foundation awards $75,000 and $50,000 full-time fellowships and $25,000 part-time fellowships to undertake and complete a one-year project of the applicant’s choosing focusing on journalism supportive of American culture and a free society. In addition, the Foundation offers separate yearlong fellowships on the environment, on the benefits of free-market competition, and on law enforcement. There are also Alumni Fund Fellowships funded by donations from current and former Phillips Fellows. Alumni Fund Fellowship winners write one magazine-length article on their topic.

    The Foundation awarded 10 fellowships in 2009:

    Full-time Fellowships
    * Sheryl Blunt for “The Assault on School Choice: How Teachers Unions’ Opposition to Vouchers is Impacting America’s Most Vulnerable School Children”
    * Michael Dougherty for “Blowup: The Contradictions of the Economic Crisis”
    * Gary Emerling for “Police State or Probable Cause: The Employment, Effectiveness and Legal Validity of Law Enforcement Checkpoints in the United States”
    * Evan Hill for “Sanctuary: How the Fate of One Troubled Policy is Shaping the Debate on Immigration.”

    Part-time Fellowships
    * Reilly Capps for “The Continental Divide: How the West’s Geography Carves the Political and Cultural Future of America – or How the Nanny State Took over the Wild West”
    * James Kirchick for “Transnational Progressivism and the Threat to America”
    * Christian Lowe for “Answering the Call: Why Some in ‘Generation Y’ Abandon a Life of Comfort and Prosperity to Risk Everything and Fight America’s Wars”
    * Stephen Morse for “My Two Census” which examines why the 2010 census could become the most controversial data-gathering process in history.

    Alumni Fund Fellowships
    * Katherine Truesdell for “Caught in the Web: an Exploration of the Left’s Power Online and What It Means for the Right”
    * Robert VerBruggen for “Race and the American Academy,” which explores how American universities study race and racism, how they handle racial issues on campus and how these trends affect the broader society.

  18. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    @anonymous: 1. I also worked for MOTHER JONES MAGAZINE, about as liberal as you can get — and I also wrote about the 2010 Census there. 2. As of today, I am no longer a Fellow at the Phillips Foundation, as my one-year fellowship as ended. 3. I wasn’t a Phillips Fellow for the first 4 months that I had the blog.

    But I love the accusations, keep them flying. It boosts my ego very nicely.

  19. end the census Says:

    Personally as a follower of this blog, it seems clear that Mr. Morse takes a non-partisan approach to media coverage of the 2010 census. I appreciate his hard work and the hard work of everyone who is documenting this massive (and massively wasteful) mess. My gripe is with Mr. O’Keefe and that dishonest, ridiculous video.

  20. end the census Says:

    And by the way, congratulations to Mr. Morse on that fellowship!

  21. charlie Says:

    here’s a new accusation…you’re a doosh

  22. another anonnymous Says:

    I enjoy this blog. I’ve been following it since NRFU ops began. It provides a great forum for discussion on these issues which, quite frankly, isn’t available anywhere else.

  23. anonymous Says:

    Post your application paper for the fellowship so everyone can read it.

    Or post something nice about the Census to counter balance the perceived bias.

  24. One of the Anonymous Says:

    There were many people who never had the chance to work ….

  25. One of the Anonymous Says:

    Congratulations, Stephen!

  26. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    @all of the readers – Today was a huge news day, im calling it a night, but continue to send in your tips.

  27. Embarressed Says:

    Yes, clock starts from your front door – returning to your front door. Plus they pay you to read/study your manuals as an incentive to do your homework. Everyone knows this. Probably even O’Keef.

  28. rm Says:

    A lot of this has to do with inherent limitations of the D308. There are only four periods and there are only 8 points of travel. Yet supervisors especially are expected to be available at all times during the week–a ten minute call here, a fifteen minute call there, travel time….the D308 doesn’t begin to capture the complexity of the situation.

  29. 'nuff already Says:

    Hmmm…seems the tenor of the responses has changed substantially. Comments seem to be coming direct from census insiders versus the dupes hired as enumerators. Hence the comments are all now pro census. If I wanted pro census bull I would go and read Director Grove’s blog on the official Census 2010 site. I come here to get the real news!

    The bottom line, however, remains the same. Over 600,000 temporary employees were hired as enumerators. All were told they were being hired for an 8-week temporary assignment. While it is true that our CL said we may finish early (in which case we would most likely be reassigned to help teams behind schedule — which did not, by the way, happen!), or that we may not log a full 40 hours each week. This was clearly understood by all. What was less understood is that the entire assignment would be over within two weeks. I am of the opinion, based on comments made by my crew leader, and what others have written, that the Census Bureau deliberately over hired and misled everyone regarding the length of the assignment.

    And by the way, we were never offered pay for reading our manuals! Census 2010 is a complete waste of money.

  30. Samantha Jackson Says:

    ’nuff, The tenor of the responses changed because even those of us who find much fault with the way the 2010 Census has been managed can see through the lies and deception in the video. O’Keefe does nothing for his cause when he twists and manipulates the truth. There’s enough real waste and mismanagement in the 2010 Census without anyone having to make stuff up as O’Keefe has done. Like the CL/Trainer in the video, O’Keefe is lazy. Lazy in that he made stuff up instead of going to the trouble of producing a video showing real waste or fraud in the Census.

    That date which marks 8 weeks from the time of your appointment is called an NTE date. Not To Exceed. Your employment was not to exceed 8 weeks from the date of appointment. You were never guaranteed 8 weeks of work in a temp position. Also, you were not hired when you had your phone interview. You were invited to attend training. You were appointed on the first day and your prospects of continued employment beyond training were dependent on attendance and passing of the assessment…and the availability of work.

    There’s plenty of fault to find with this operation. There’s no need to manufacture what’s not there.

  31. katie Says:

    loser. census is time consuming!

  32. DisgustedWithGovernment Says:

    This was exactly what I found so frustrating with my job as a census enumerator….I was told to work slowly so my crew leader’s job would last through summer….that is just pathetic! And we WONDER why our country is in the debt it’s in!

  33. Ena Umerator Says:

    While my name might suggest otherwise, I am not an enumerator… I’m a crew leader. I can explain why the 2010 Census is running out of money.

    @ Robert Morse “@Crew Leader – Nope, not running out of stuff to blog about. But the 2010 Census is running out of money, and maybe this is why…”

    The reason is because of corruption at the top. The “top dogs”, heads of the RCCs and LCOs are pushing crews to complete NRFU three weeks ahead of schedule in order to receive big bonuses. Staff were threatened with termination and reprimand if they did not comply and complete the operation ahead of schedule. The “coders” at the LCO added to the problem by sending EQs back to Enumerators for silly reasons… such as adding a residence and not identifying the tract the Housing Unit was on. This created a very expensive EQ… hence the $50 EQ that some people talk about. The Census destroys materials after every operation. Enumerators, regardless of having been part of the other operations beginning in 2009, were issued new bags, tags, and materials. Whoever created the maps… must be blind, deaf, unable to think and in a persistent vegetative state. The maps were inaccurate to the point of ludicrousy. In another note, WHOLE TOWNS have not been enumerated. Calls have been put in to the LCO. Maps and addresses gotten from the assessor’s office… and nothing has been done. They will not count these people and as a result some of these towns will lose the precious funding they receive.

  34. Ena Umerator Says:

    BTW, We are in Oklahoma… home of the worst Census 2010 screw-ups ever. We may finish by July.