Another partisan fight may soon take place over who should run the Census Bureau as former Clintonista Census Director and current Columbia University professor Kenneth Prewitt is now back on the federal payroll, this time as a consultant for the 2010 headcount. Will Prewitt’s presence get lost amongst this week’s grumblings from the GOP or will it become a consistent Republican talking point?
Remember folks, Census Director-designate Robert M. Groves’ confirmation hearing is only 1 week away (May 6), so bring out the popcorn as this could potentially get nasty…
Check out the full report from The National Journal:
GOP Protests New Census Consultant
By CARRIE DANN
Former Census Bureau director Kenneth Prewitt will become involved with the 2010 decennial count as the agency’s part-time consultant, the Commerce Department confirmed today. Prewitt, a Clinton-era appointee who ran the bureau from 1998-2001, was widely considered to be a frontrunner to return to the post in advance of next year’s population count but withdrew his name from consideration earlier this year.
President Obama nominated another former bureau official, Robert Groves, earlier this month to fill the post instead. Now a professor at Columbia University, Prewitt will work “a couple days a week” with bureau officials to troubleshoot problems that arise as the nation’s largest peacetime mobilization effort gets underway, said Commerce Department spokesman Nick Kimball.
House Republicans, who have raised concerns that the potentially controversial headcount will be unduly influenced by the White House, have drafted a letter to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to object to Prewitt’s “back door entry” to the bureau without going through the Senate confirmation process. Democrats scoffed at the complaint, pointing out that it is hardly uncommon for former federal officials to offer expertise on a part-time basis. “Considering former Secretary [Carlos] Gutierrez used [Prewitt] as a consultant, too, you have to ask why the Republicans are in such a tizzy,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. Groves’ Senate confirmation hearing is scheduled for May 6.