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.

Posts Tagged ‘ACORN’

Judicial Watch vs. ACORN

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

MyTwoCensus will report more on this story throughout the weekend. For now, here is a press release from right-leaning watchdog organization Judicial Watch detailing their current investigation of left-leaning ACORN:

Judicial Watch Obtains Obama Commerce Department Documents Detailing ACORN Partnership for 2010 Census

Contact Information:
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305

Washington, DC — May 28, 2009

Census Bureau refuses to partner with “Hate Groups, Law Enforcement, Anti-Immigrant Groups”

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained documents from the U.S. Census Bureau detailing the substantial involvement of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) in the 2010 Census. Included among the 126 pages of documents, obtained by Judicial Watch under threat of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, is ACORN’s original Census partnership application. The document describes 18 different areas of responsibility requested by the community organization, which is under investigation in multiple states for illegal activity during the 2008 election, including voter registration fraud.

The documents also list the types of organizations ineligible for partnering with the U.S. Census. They include: “…Hate groups, Law enforcement, anti-immigrant groups, any groups that might make people fearful of participating in the Census…” The release of these Obama Commerce Department documents comes in the wake of an Obama Department of Homeland Security report released in April linking opposition to illegal immigration to “rightwing extremist radicalization.”

In its official statement responding to the ACORN controversy, the Obama Commerce Department downplayed ACORN’s participation in the Census, and labeled “baseless” the notion that ACORN would be involved in any Census count. However, the Census Bureau offered ACORN the opportunity to “recruit Census workers” who would participate in the count. Moreover, as an “executive level” partner, ACORN has the ability to “organize and/or serve as a member on a Complete Count Committee,” which, according to Census documents, helps “develop and implement locally based outreach and recruitment campaigns.”

According to its application ACORN also signed up to: “Encourage employees and constituents to complete and mail their questionnaire; identify job candidates and/or distribute and display recruiting materials; appoint a liaison to work with the Census Bureau; provide space for Be Counted sites and/or Questionnaire Assistance Centers; sponsor community events to promote participation in the 2010 Census,” among 18 requested areas of responsibility. The documents also show the decision to add ACORN as a partner occurred in February, long after the January 15th Census partnership application deadline. (One Census official had bet “it was under Bush.”)

Among other conclusions from the documents:

  • The Census Bureau requested that ACORN “help us highlight [ACORN's] innovation and hard work and share best practices so other organizations can learn from your experiences.”
  • Members of the Census Bureau and Department of Commerce staff assigned to organize the 2010 Census were unaware of when the decision to involve ACORN was made, how the Census Bureau choose and defined partners, or whether partners received payment.
  • The Census Bureau did not conduct background checks on the 3.7 million people hired to conduct the 2000 Census, unless a preliminary name check provided a match. Overall, 8% of the applicants, or over 300,000 people, were considered risks for hire.

According to the U.S. Census documents, among other things, census data is used to allocate $300 billion in federal funds. Census data also “determines how many seats each state will have in the House of Representatives as well as the redistricting of state legislatures, county and city councils, and voting districts.”

“Given its history of illegal activity and fraud, ACORN should be nowhere near the 2010 Census,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “And shame on the Obama Commerce Department for continuing to demonize conservatives by lumping together law enforcement and anti-immigration groups with ‘hate groups.’ This discriminatory policy raises First Amendment concerns. Indeed, these documents provide further evidence that the Obama administration is politicizing the 2010 Census.”

Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Census on March 23, 2009. After the Obama Commerce Department stonewalled, Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit on May 14, 2009. The documents were released to Judicial Watch on May 15, 2009.

Groves’ hearing postponed, now Friday at 9:30 am

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

For those of you who have been wondering when Census Director-to-be Robert Groves’ confirmation hearing is taking place, the answer is now Friday, 5/15 at 9:30 am. The hearing has already been pushed back twice (each time at the last minute), so we hope this date is set in stone. MyTwoCensus will be live-blogging the whole thing. With Joe Lieberman in charge of the hearing and John McCain in attendance, Groves will certainly face heated questions about statistical sampling and the role of ACORN in the 2010 Census.

Politico: Acorn vs. the GOP

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

We’ve interrupted our Saturday endeavors to bring you this story from Politico…Here are the highlights that discuss the 2010 Census:

But ACORN’s past problems and its new partnership with the Census Bureau has given Republicans more than enough reason to pounce. During the debate over the government stimulus package, GOP lawmakers complained bitterly that federal funds for “neighborhood stabilization activities” and other programs could flow to ACORN. At the time, ACORN’s CEO, Bertha Lewis, denied that her group would be eligible to receive such funds

In an interview with POLITICO, McHenry said that after this week’s law enforcement action in Nevada and Pennsylvania, he would continue to press the Census Bureau to end its partnership with ACORN.

“Not only are we talking about an organization that is a nonprofit and engaged in political activity of a partisan nature, not only are we talking about a group that gets government funds, we’re talking about an organization that has an imprint and stamp of a partnership with the Census,” McHenry said. “I think reasonable folks on both sides of the aisle should be concerned about ACORN’s involvement.”

ACORN’s back (in the spotlight) and its better than ever…

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

We knew that it was too good to be true that we’ve gone through a few ACORN-less weeks. We didn’t hold our breath. Ostensibly, within the next 24 hours, the GOP will be back on the hunt for ACORN’s blood and the left will be dismissive of this “community group’s” abilities to harm the 2010 Census. Nowadays, simply uttering the word ACORN creates the extreme partisanship that is detrimental to obtaining the main goal of the 2010 Census: Obtaining an accurate count.

ACORN has been indicted in Nevada, so here we go again…Here’s the scoop from the Associated Press:

Nevada charges ACORN illegally paid to sign voters

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada authorities filed criminal charges Monday against the political advocacy group ACORN and two former employees, alleging they illegally paid canvassers to sign up new voters during last year’s presidential campaign.

ACORN denied the charges and said it would defend itself in court.

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now had a handbook and policies requiring employees in Las Vegas to sign up 20 new voters per day to keep their $8- to $9-per-hour jobs.

Canvassers who turned in 21 new voter registrations earned a “blackjack” bonus of $5 per shift, Masto added. Those who didn’t meet the minimum were fired.

“By structuring employment and compensation around a quota system, ACORN facilitated voter registration fraud,” Masto said. She accused ACORN executives of hiding behind and blaming employees, and vowed to hold the national nonprofit corporation accountable for training manuals that she said “clearly detail, condone and … require illegal acts.”

Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller emphasized the case involved “registration fraud, not voter fraud,” and insisted that no voters in Nevada were paid for votes and no unqualified voters were allowed to cast ballots.

Law enforcement agencies in about a dozen states investigated fake voter registration cards submitted by ACORN during the 2008 presidential election campaign, but Nevada is the first to bring charges against the organization, ACORN officials said.

ACORN has said the bogus cards listing such names as “Mickey Mouse” and “Donald Duck” represented less than 1 percent of the 1.3 million collected nationally and were completed by lazy workers trying to get out of canvassing neighborhoods. The organization has said it notified election officials whenever such bogus registrations were suspected.

ACORN spokesman Scott Levenson denied the Nevada allegations on behalf of ACORN, which works to get low-income people to vote and lists offices in 41 states and the District of Columbia. He blamed former rogue employees for the alleged wrongdoing.

“Our policy all along has been to pay workers at an hourly rate and to not pay employees based on any bonus or incentive program,” he said. “When it was discovered that an employee was offering bonuses linked to superior performance, that employee was ordered to stop immediately.”

Levenson said the two former ACORN organizers named in Monday’s criminal complaint — Christopher Howell Edwards and Amy Adele Busefink — no longer work for ACORN and would not be represented by the organization.

Edwards, 33, of Gilroy, Calif., and Busefink, 26, of Seminole, Fla., could not immediately be reached for comment.

Masto identified Edwards as the ACORN Las Vegas office field director in 2008, and said timesheets indicate that ACORN corporate officers were aware of the “blackjack” bonus program and failed to stop it. The attorney general said Busefink was ACORN’s deputy regional director.

The complaint filed in Las Vegas Justice Court accuses ACORN and Edwards each of 13 counts of compensation for registration of voters, and Busefink of 13 counts of principle to the crime of compensation for registration of voters. Each charge carries the possibility of probation or less than 1 year in jail, Masto said.

A court hearing was scheduled June 3 in Las Vegas, prosecutor Conrad Hafen said.

Reading between the lines: The Census Project is in bed with the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Last night, The Wall Street Journal published a blog post by June Kronholz about the likelihood of being counted in the 2010 Census. As the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 Census, MyTwoCensus must point out that this article is written from a very partisan perspective. Kronholz’s only source of data was information collected by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and released by The Census Project. Kronholz writes, “The [census counting] estimates were developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, using Census Bureau planning databases, and released by the Census Project whose members include policy planners, demographers and citizen-rights advocates.”

If you look at The Census Project’s stakeholder list, it’s clear that all of the stakeholders are liberal advocacy groups, and more importantly, one of the “stakeholders” (which translates to meaning an organization that funds The Census Project) is The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the very organization responsible for providing this data…So here’s our advice when reading articles, even from reputable news sources:

1. Read between the lines.

2. Take any information from “The Census Project” with a large grain of salt, as it’s coming from many partisan sources including ACORN, the NAACP, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and other immigrant advocacy groups.