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.

MyTwoCensus Investigation: Detroit Regional Census Center a bastion of political patronage and corruption

Author’s note: This investigation is ongoing and MyTwoCensus.com will be pressing the Census Bureau for details about these cases, which thus far the Census Bureau’s public information office has refused to provide. This investigation is most definitely a personal crusade for me as a main goal of this site is to watch over spending and abolish government corruption. As such, I will be keeping this post at the top of MyTwoCensus.com until 1. The mainstream media reports on this most obvious scandal and 2. The Census Bureau acknowledges their mistakes and fires the individuals involved with these problems.

As 2010 Census operations wind down, the Census Bureau has been forced to get rid of many of its temporary employees. However, the few employees who are still employed at the Detroit Regional Census Center’s “partnership” office have one thing in common: They are closely connected to the Detroit political machine and/or the Democratic Party. And the one current employee who doesn’t fit the above description is Toine Murphy, who was indicted by the State of Michigan for his involvement in a Ponzi scheme.

To give you some background on the word “Partnership” in 2010 Census terms, the Census Bureau created an outreach program for the 2010 Census intended to boost involvement by linguistic, racial, and sexual minorities. The stimulus package gave this program a mega boost when it awarded upwards of $500 million in additional cash to the Census Bureau for outreach efforts, many of which are coordinated by “Partnership Specialists” and “Partnership Coordinators.”

(Some of these partnership employees have been paid more than $85,000 per year at the GS-14 and GS-15 levels of pay for federal employees.)

Let’s look at the cast of characters in the Detroit Regional Census Center who were NOT let go from the Census Bureau — even though “partnership” activities are long finished and the vast majority of employees in this office were let go in early June. The survivors are as follows:

1. Marsha Cheeks is a Democratic former member of the Michigan state House of Representatives. However, she was term-limited in 2008. Apparently, the Census Bureau is where retired politicians are put to work in Michigan. It was likely very easy for Cheeks to get the job though, since her sister is a Detroit Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick and her nephew is Detroit’s disgraced former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. (I’m not sure if Ms. Cheeks’ campaign finances have ever been investigated, but it looks like she’s taking quite a lot of money that was intended for her sister’s political campaign rather than hers.)

2. Brian H. White, who likely violated the Hatch Act by running for Detroit City Council in 2009 while a 2010 Census employee. Mr. White also ran for State Representative from Michigan’s 6th District in 2008.

Update: After doing more research, it appears that because Mr. White’s run for State Representative in 2008 ended before his official start date with the Census Bureau (February, 2009) and that he ran for the non-partisan City Council of Detroit (while still a Census Bureau employee) he was not in violation of the Hatch Act. (I was unable to acquire Mr. White’s start date with the Census Bureau until after he announced it himself in the comments section of this post.) However, that is not to say that Mr. White’s ethics aren’t poor as he ran for office while still employed by the 2010 Census in 2009 and likely applied for his Census Bureau position while still a candidate for a partisan position. Furthermore, did Mr. White use his Census Bureau resources (phone, office, etc.) to conduct a campaign on that taxpayer’s dime? In Cincinnati, Bernadette Watson left her position at the Census Bureau under pressure to run for that city’s non-partisan City Council in 2009. That said, because of Mr. White’s strong political connections, it is unclear what their role was in his being hired by the 2010 Census.

A recent profile of Mr. White states, “White has worked as state director for the Michigan Election Protection initiative; a Base Vote Director for the Michigan Democratic Party; political director of America Votes Michigan; and public policy coordinator for the Detroit branch NAACP. His political career is extensive, but hasn’t included a run for public office, until now. ‘I always knew I’d be involved, politically, but I never imagined being a politician, per se.”‘

However, this is a lie, as Mr. White ran for Detroit City Council in 2009 and his Facebook profile picture reveals a photo of his candidacy for City Council. (And here’s the Facebook  group dedicated to his State Rep. candidacy.)

Let’s not forget Mr. White’s family political connection: He is the older brother of Donnell White, the Deputy Executive Director of the Detroit NAACP.

Here’s the Facebook photo currently on his profile:


And another from the Facebook group for the 2009 City Council campaign:

3. Belda Garza is also a former Michigan State Representative (who was term-limited) turned Partnership Specialist employed by the Detroit Regional Census Center and kept on the job after other employees were fired.

4. Linda Clark is the girlfriend of Charles “Charlie” Beckham, who is an associate of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and works as a top aide to current Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. Mr. Beckham has been under fire for his previous criminal conviction.

Now, after speaking with many 2010 Census employees, not a soul can confirm that any of the aforementioned individuals, including Toine Murphy (who has not returned numerous calls or e-mails from MyTwoCensus.com) have done a stitch of work in the past couple of months, let alone even entered the Detroit office. All of these employees can “work from home” and are issued government cell phones to conduct their activities. (If any news organization has the resources to tail these people, I urge you to find out what they’re really up to!)

If all of this isn’t bad enough, the Detroit Regional Census Office is still being quietly led by a man who is under investigation by the Commerce Department Inspector General.

On June 10, the Census Bureau released the following statement: “Detroit Regional Director Dwight Dean is not currently involved in the management of Regional operations.  This is a personnel matter, and Mr. Dean remains in the employment of the Census Bureau.  In compliance with the Privacy Act, the Census Bureau has no further comment.”

According to his official 2010 Census biography,  “Dwight Dean has served as director of the Detroit Regional Office – one of 12 offices that make up the U.S. Census Bureau’s permanent field organization – since 1987.” Over the course of 23 years, Mr. Dean has apparently been making lots of friends in Detroit, and this is where the investigation really heats up.  MyTwoCensus has confirmed many tips that Dean engaged in acts of cronyism and corruption – including gaining financial stake in a Detroit warehouse in return for providing 2010 Census jobs for the individuals mentioned above and others.

To provide an example of Mr. Dean’s cronyism, he fired a hard-working 2010 Census supervisor with no cause and replaced the man with his secretary’s husband. So, as of today, both Barbara and Brad Cotner are on the 2010 Census payroll. (E-mail them at barbara.cotner@census.gov and bradley.j.cotner@census.gov according to a search today on the Commerce Department’s “Person Finder.”)

Two independent sources confirmed to MyTwoCensus.com that the Commerce Department Inspector General is now investigating Dwight Dean, who remains on the Census Bureau’s payroll (doing what job, nobody will say, and of course he never returns calls or e-mails asking for comment). MyTwoCensus.com has been unable to confirm  tips from readers who claim that other federal agencies are also investigating Mr. Dean for a variety of charges including corruption and abuse of power.

MyTwoCensus urges federal, state, and local officials to prosecute the individuals involved with the Detroit Regional Census Center’s shenanigans to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

So Robert M. Groves (a Michiganian himself) and Steve Jost, how are you going to try to spin this story so the Census Bureau doesn’t come off as a bastion of corruption?

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52 Responses to “MyTwoCensus Investigation: Detroit Regional Census Center a bastion of political patronage and corruption”

  1. AL_CL Says:

    “the few employees who are still employed”

    How do you know they are still employed?

    “the Census Bureau’s public information office has refused to provide”

    Please post your requests and their responses.

    “a stitch of work in the past couple of months”

    Maybe they don’t work there anymore.

    “MyTwoCensus urges federal, state, and local officials to prosecute the individuals”

    So you have contacted federal state and local law enforcement? Please confirm.

    Also, I don’t see how Mr. White’s statement is a lie. Can you elaborate?

  2. kcebnrok Says:

    Stephen, let me guess, when these partnership specialists are let go in a month anyway (due to the temporary nature of their position), you are going to post an article about how it was all because of you?

  3. Laney Says:

    Breaking news: People who know powerful people get good jobs. Thank you so very, very much for exposing this amazing story. Without you, we would have never known.

  4. Laney Says:

    Oh, also –

    “until…the mainstream media reports on this most obvious scandal.”

    LOL. Why would legitimate news outlets report on an entirely made up scandal by an obscure “reporter”? Anyone can connect the dots to anyone else to give the appearance of impropriety. This does not mean that there is any actual wrongdoing. FOX News does this all the time, and Jon Stewart recently called them out for it on the Daily Show.

    For example, many of your stories posted on this site also appear on biggovernment(dot)com. That site is run by Andrew Brietbart, who finances the “career” of hidden video enthusiast James O’Keefe. One such video was also posted on this website. O’Keefe was recently convicted of a federal crime and is currently serving three years probation. O’Keefe attended the One People’s Project (an anti-Semitic, white supremacist organization) conference in 2006 where he disseminated racist literature. Therefore, Stephen Morse is associated with a known criminal and white supremacist. Is Morse himself a white supremacist? I have not yet found out his views and have nothing other than speculation, but I’m going to post this anyway so that I may stoke the fires of outrage.

    See how easy that was?

  5. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    @Laney – People like you come back to this WATCHDOG blog again and again only to criticize. To me, that’s a compliment because this “obscure” reporter is being read by many thousands of readers. And yes, some of my more national-focused stories are SYNDICATED by biggovernment.com in the same way that national columnists for the Washington Post are syndicated in small town papers of all political pursuasions. Your anti-semitic reference makes you an idiot. But I am liberal enough that I permit all views to be shared in this site’s comment sections, even silly ones. If I’m not there to criticize the Census Bureau, who is? They would have had a blank check of $15 billion with no incentive to reign in spending. -SRM

  6. Laney Says:

    You missed my entire point. I’m not seriously calling you a white supremacist or anti-Semitic. I was merely trying to point out how easy it is to smear someone through their relations with others with no proof whatsoever beyond anecdote.

    You’ve accused me before of only coming here to criticize, but as I have said, this is not the case. I used to come here for news on the Census. The site quickly devolved into what it is today. So yes, I come here to see the daily rants and to refute your shoddy logic. Stop acting like this is some kind of nonpartisan watchdog site. It’s not, and I think you know that.

    It’s also disingenuous to act as though Big Government is comparable to a syndicated Washington Post story. You know that’s not true, as well.

    Keep calling your readers idiots, though. It’s cool.

    Finally, you’re = you are. Your = your.

  7. Jax Enumerator Says:

    “And finally, I’m Jewish”

    Laney, SRM just pwned you.

  8. Brian White Says:

    Mr. Morse the number one rule in journalism is to do your research and get your facts straight. First of all, I’ve never violated the Hatch Act. I ran for State Representative of the 6th District in August of 2008 and lost the primary. My position with the Census Bureau started on January 20, 2009.

    Second, I was a candidate for Detroit City Council in 2009 however it is clearly spelled out in the Hatch Act that a federal employee may run for a non-partisan office. Guess what? The Detroit City Council is a non-partisan office. You should also note that I did not run a campaign for the office, I merely filed to run and accepted endorsements. I made not one phone call or knocked on any doors.

    Third, Donnell White is my little brother not my uncle and the photo was taken at a Christmas Party not a political function.

    You should note due to your irresponsible attempt at journalism I will be contacting my attorney to see what legal redress I may be afforded as a result of your slander.

    Good day, sir.

  9. owned Says:

    lol

  10. NikkiTaMere Says:

    Why don’t u threaten to hold ur breathe or refse to take ur nap until u get what u want?

    Or u could climb out of ur parents basement and visit the real world sometime

  11. NikkiTaMere Says:

    And I am also concerned about ur alleged links to anti-semetic white supremacists and criminals. Who will investigate u? We need a special prosecutor, then the rightwing nuts who fund u can. Spend some more money to defend u

  12. Mary Says:

    Well this story appears to be spiraling out of control.

  13. JAG Says:

    Dad gummit…….SRM busted again running with heresy rather than investigating anything. That’s the pattern of this site.

  14. Brian White Says:

    I find it funny how you have gone back and changed facts in the story since I have posted a comment. How about exposing yourself for your at best shabby journalism skills?

    Did you even do your research to see if I was telling the truth in my post about Donnell being my younger brother not my uncle? I’m guessing not.

    Do quit your day job, if you even have one.

  15. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    Brian – I apologize for getting the relationship wrong but I was relying on sources. Since you did not deny the many allegations preseted here, I presume they are all true. I will shoot you a e-mail and hopefully we can chat. SRM

    ps to Laney and others- the James o keefe supremacist story was later retracted by salon.com so please check the facts. I am on the road or I would post the link now.

  16. Laney Says:

    Yes, checking facts is always a good idea. Salon did not retract their story; they issued a correction, as they had made a mistake in their original article. They had written that O’Keefe had planned the conference, which turned out to be untrue. He just attended and distributed literature.

    Issuing corrections to articles and admitting errors is something you might want to look into.

  17. JAG Says:

    SRM suggesting to others that they should check the facts when he doesn’t? No surprise there…..

  18. Census HQ Guy Says:

    Several months ago, the security division posted a name label of the person that they had yet to officially announce for a week. The name was taken off until the position was officially GIVEN to the individual at a GS-14 position. If you have worked at the Census HQ for awhile, you get to observe all these little things and their associations between one another. You can go to Facebook and track some of the names in the GS-15/GS-14 positions and find out who the people are on the family and friends plan.

  19. Brian White Says:

    Mr. Morse I believe in my first post you will notice I refuted your claim that I violated the Hatch Act. Furthermore, if you did your research and talked to people in and around the City of Detroit/State of Michigan you would find that I was probably over-qualified for the Partnership Specialist position number one and second you would find that it is widely known that I’m a very honest and upstanding person who never compromises his principles.

    I fought against predatory lending and took on the banks and mortgage industry long before they ruined the economy, foreshadowing the effects on the economy and real estate market. Google that!

    I also more recently fought against the Driver Responsibility Fee which was signed into law by the current Governor whom I consider a friend but I always but the community and the citizens of this great State first.

    Trust me when I tell you, you’ve picked the wrong person to spread lies about this time.

  20. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    Brian – Can you please confirm/deny the illegal actions of your colleagues Dwight Dean and Twoine Murphy? Can you also discuss your relationship with these people?

    Thanks!

    Stephen

    PS – I appreciate an open dialogue, but I don’t think I am spreading “lies.”

  21. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    Brian – Can you please account for all of the days that you have worked since June and what your activities have been? Thanks! SRM

  22. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    Brian – And finally, what were your 2010 Census test scores?

    Thanks!

    SRM

  23. Census Guy Says:

    This is going to be interesting. Since Brian White is a public person, under current civil law he’ll have to show that SRM acted with malice while making any defamatory statements about him on this website. (he’ll also have to prove the statements were actually defamatory, but that’s another topic) malice is most frequently defined as intentional or reckless behavior (as verses simple negligence). We will then find out how deep SRM’s pockets are and whether the founder of Big Government will pay his legal bills.

    I do have a question for Brian.

    You wrote: “Second, I was a candidate for Detroit City Council in 2009 however it is clearly spelled out in the Hatch Act that a federal employee may run for a non-partisan office. Guess what? The Detroit City Council is a non-partisan office.”

    How does any elected office (city council) for which both democrats and republicans compete in elections for seats qualify as a “Non-partisan” office?

  24. Brian White Says:

    I have dignified your irresponsible journalism enough. Go ahead and continue to spread your lies. As evident by the posts of bloggers more familiar with you, it seems to be something you wish to continue to do and not even totally wrong ad off-base will stop you!

    It’s pretty pretentious of you to think that I need to justify my employment status with you epecially after you have defamed and slandered me.

  25. Brian White Says:

    meant to say “even being”

  26. Brian White Says:

    In response to Census Guy: It qualifies as non-partisan because one does not have to declare a party when filing for candidacy unlike in partisan elections.

  27. Census Guy Says:

    Hi Brian:

    Since SRM actually used the printed word to make his comments about you, he would have allegedly committed libel not slander. Slander describes defamation using spoken words.

    But perhaps you could answer a question since the Census loves to keep statistics.

    Do you know how many additional EQs were filled out by people specifically as a result of your efforts, and if you can provide this number, how can you show your work resulted in this number?

    It’s a valid question since we field enumerators were tracked as to each EQ we submitted during our census career.

  28. Brian White Says:

    It would be purely speculation. The last numbers/estimates released to any employee was on April 27th and without personally interviewing every respondent there would be no way of knowing that answer. I will tell you that myself and my team interacted, encouraged and educated hundreds of thousands of people(with no intention of participating or responding) all across Southeastern Michigan as I was assigned to 18 different cities and every union across the State.

  29. Brian White Says:

    Thank you famosus

  30. Milt Says:

    Question,

    When this census is over do you have any journalistic prospects, or will you just slide back in to obscurity where you obviously belong?

  31. Brian White Says:

    Thanks famosus, I had been thinking about that very thing.

  32. whoseworking Says:

    It appears Mr.White is spending a lot of time responding to allegations on this site. Who is doing the work? Is it 40 hours of pay? If so, for doing what?

  33. JAG Says:

    Because Mr White does respond to issues that don’t pertain to him, Morse determines that all other allegations made must be true. Another outstanding example of why so many people consider Morse to be an idiot!

  34. All sensed out Says:

    This comment is totally off the very
    Serious subject matter, but Brian and
    His brothers are cuties! Wouldn’t
    care what him or his brother was doing!!!
    We don’t have that much eye candy in
    The NYRCC. Lol!

  35. bored Says:

    Dean was dirty , end of story. Thank God no one is looking into his sexual follies. Legend has it he did keep people on due to past….interacts.

  36. Patrick Says:

    Another off-topic question (SRM, you need a forum/message board!)…

    A conversation at my LCO today piqued my curiousity when a manager in admin insisted to me that enumerators should be forced to forfeit up to a half hour of pay if they failed to take the federally-required half hour break.

    See, we were told, from the very first day of training to be NRFU crew leaders, that if it were necessary, we should manipulate our hours to make it look as though we had taken a break after 5 hours of work, whether we had done so or not. Indeed, for people who had to travel more than an hour to training, and if training went a little long, they were told by the FOS to just change the hours worked and tack some on at the end to make sure you were paid for the correct amount of time, while still appearing to have taken your half hour break.

    Admin refused to accept payroll forms without a half hour break, effectively encouraging people to manipulate their hours in order to ensure they got paid properly — and FOSs on down actively encouraged this.

    Perhaps this is old news, but did anyone else face this situation?

    Does this, or does this not, constitute a systematic violation of labor guidelines for federal employees, especially given that supervisors encouraged the practice of manipulating hours as a means of giving the appearance of having taken the required break? Honest question. If it’s perfectly legal, please give justification. Always seemed like a weird loophole to me.

  37. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    @Patrick – Click “Community” on the side of the page. That takes you to our forum for users. SRM

  38. bored Says:

    Admin does not have the authority to , one , not process the paperwork, or worst, tell people to lie……put in the paperwork with over 5 or 6 hours…they will be paid. TOO BUSY , IN ISOLATED AREA, OR NO CELL PHONE SIGNAL SHOULD BE ACCEPTED AS AN EXCUSE.

  39. Grant Williams Says:

    I have met Toine and Brian and know for a fact that they are excellent at their jobs with the census.You mentioned if they even step foot in the Detroit office. I currently work for another company in the same office complex and I see them if not every day damn near every day. They are good guys who will have to look work just like the rest of the temporary employees.
    I also want to know who is your next target once the 2010 decennial census is over?

  40. Jake Says:

    Patrick,
    We were told to take a break every five hours.
    No inference to make it work in the future. Simply, when you get to five hours, stop, take a break and document it.
    Even during training if we got to 5 hours, we took the mandatory break.
    Your guy’s idea of taking the half hour off your payroll sheet and the break not being actually taken is over the top and against Wage and Hour.
    Jake

  41. Jake Says:

    SRM,
    When I click on Community.
    Type a message it goes to Verify and nothing else happens.
    Any thoughts?
    Jake

  42. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    @Jake – you registered properly? no problems on my end! maybe try another browser? SRM

  43. Patrick Says:

    @Jake:
    In rural areas, it’s not always conducive (or efficient) if you have to drive 15 or 20 minutes to get to a location that’s good to take a break — ie, get food, use bathroom, etc. And would the census bureau cover that cost if it added 30 miles to a day’s work?

    Even so, that’s not really the issue. As a CL I got payroll forms constantly that said the enumerator worked from, say, 9am to 4pm. While they may have grabbed a bite to eat, they didn’t take the required half hour break. In these situations, because admin refused to accept these forms, we had to tell enumerators to fill out a new form and change the hours to 9am to 2pm, 2:30pm to 4:30pm.

    During training, the FOS training my group of CL’s knew that it would be a problem every day because some people were driving almost an hour and a half to get to training. It became routine during those trainings to (strictly speaking) falsify the hours worked, saying we took a break at 12:30pm when in reality maybe it wasn’t until 1:15pm.

    It just seems odd that, although they paid lip service to the federal guidelines, supervisors in reality just encouraged people to manipulate hours/falsify time sheets, rather than find a way to compel workers to take the required break after the designated number of hours.

    Mostly it pissed us off that in training the Bureau constantly threatened to fire people who manipulated their hours in any way, yet supervisors routinely encouraged us to do so as a way around the 5-hour break rule.

  44. Laney Says:

    Wow. You really have no shame.

  45. famosus libellus Says:

    I just want to be validated.

  46. Laney Says:

    Good question. I notice that your original comment below mine was also deleted, or edited. Too bad, because I thought it was insightful.

  47. famosus libellus Says:

    Thank you Laney for the follow up. Is your comment missing too? I don’t remember what you said.

  48. famosus libellus Says:

    Knock. Knock.

  49. Bobby J Says:

    It’s no wonder Detroit is such a cesspit.

  50. anon Says:

    You’re either a hero or or you live long enough to see yourself become forgotten.

  51. JustAClerk Says:

    I was a clerk in an LCO under Detroit RCC.
    This is nothing.

  52. JustAClerk Says:

    Oops … when I said “nothing,” I should have qualified that with “there is so much more, keep digging.”

    Our LCO was a cesspit of nepotism and cronyism.