There are many mysteries surrounding Census Coverage Management. (Some are discussed here in this Powerpoint presentation.) The Government Accountability Office (GAO) published some critiques/suggestions for CCM back in April, but it is unknown if these recommendations have been implemented. Today, out of the blue, I received some updates to my FOIA request from February that sought to examine correspondences between various officials. (Presumably, this sudden appearance of information had something to do with the fallout of Mr. Jost’s mention of this request the other day in the comments section of this blog.) If you start at page 32, you will get to read quite a bit of information about Census Coverage Management, a most important 2010 Census operation. Here’s the document:
Posts Tagged ‘Patrick McHenry’
With latest jobs report, the Census Bureau’s failures to report training hours and part-time jobs come to lightTuesday, June 8th, 2010
For most of you, this is old news by now, but I hesitated to report it because it would probably just make you more angry. It recently came out that most of America’s new jobs are temporary Census Bureau positions that will soon end, which is dismal news for the economy. As MyTwoCensus.com observed, some people on the right are outraged by what they report as false job statistics since Census Bureau employees have been hired and let go (for various reasons) and then re-hired to work for other 2010 Census operations down the road.
FoxNews published reports from Commerce Department and Bureau of Labor Statistics spokespersons:
Commerce Department spokesman Nick Kimball:
“The Census Bureau — like all other employers — reports the number of individuals on its payroll for the specific week the Labor Department uses as a point of reference for measuring the nation’s level of This is not a tally of positions filled during the past month — instead, it is the number of actual individual human beings who received paychecks that week. That number can then be compared to the reports from previous months to understand the changing jobs environment over time.”
Bureau of Labor Statistics spokeswoman Stacey Standish:
“Each month the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Current Employment Statistics (CES) program publishes the employment levels for total nonfarm and component industries. Establishments, including the Census Bureau, are asked to report the total number of workers on their payroll. That is, the establishment is asked to report the total number of employees who worked or received pay for the pay period that includes the 12th of the month. The CES program does not ask establishments to report the number of new hires or created, or the number of persons who were laid off.”
Shelly Lowe of the Census Bureau’s public information office commented on a MyTwoCensus post:
First, the Census Bureau does not hire, then fire, and then rehire anyone. Any employee who is fired is fired for cause. We train and hire temporary workers for various operations, most significantly Non-Response Follow-Up (NRFU) to complete work assignments. When the work is complete, the temporary worker goes into an inactive status. They may be re-activated if there is more work to do, or for another subsequent operation. At no time do we count a re-activation from non-working status as a ?rehire.?
The article goes on to state: “Labor doesn’t check the Census hiring figure or whether the jobs are actually new or recycled. It considers a new job to have been created if someone is hired to work at least one hour a month.
This is simply inaccurate. The Census Bureau reports to the Department of Labor and on our public website the number of people paid for work during a given week. We do not report the number of jobs. The Census Bureau reports the total number of unduplicated temporary 2010 workers that earned any pay during a specific weekly pay period. Temporary workers earning any pay during the week are counted only once. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) measures changes in employment levels — not the actual level itself — and looks only at the week which includes the 12th day of the month. It is simply not possible for Census to engage in the manipulation of data to artificially inflate the employment report of the BLS in the manner alleged by this news column.
So now we see that the number of people on the payroll each week is the number of people who are reported to the government. However, as we know from previous posts and reports by the Commerce Department Inspector General and Government Accountability Office, there are tons and tons of Census Bureau employees who are “trained” each week but never actually work. Furthermore, there are thousands of Census Bureau employees who are only working part-time. Many workers have twenty hours to work per week, tops. These figures are not accounted for in the Census Bureau’s tally, which are further compounded by the Census Bureau’s frequent IT malfunctions making it such that Census Bureau employees who are on the clock are merely sitting around and waiting for assignments to come through.
Ranking Republican on the House of Reps. Committee for the 2010 Census Patrick McHenry has rightfully been criticizing members of his own party in recent weeks for their attempts to thwart progress on the decennial headcount. The St. Petersburg Times’ PoliFact blog has looked into McHenry’s claims and fact-checked them:
By now, most people have gotten the 2010 census in the mail. And for the first time, the U.S. Census has provided a way for the public to keep track of return rates — by state, city and zip codes.
With billions of federal dollars and political leverage at stake, most politicians are urging all residents to participate and be counted.
This year, however, some Republican leaders have raised questions about whether the census’s questions expand too far beyond the intent of the Constitution, and whether the government can be trusted to keep personal information private.
That has Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-NC., worried. As the ranking Republican on the House subcommittee that oversees the census, he’s concerned that skepticism about the census being fanned by “blatant misinformation” coming from “otherwise well-meaning conservatives” within his own party (Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, have been the most vocal census critics) will discourage Republicans from fully filling out their forms. And that’s bad for Republicans, McHenry said.
“Few things will make Nancy Pelosi happier than large numbers of conservatives failing to respond to the census,” McHenry wrote in an op-ed for the conservative Red State. “If we do not respond, we will not be counted, and if we are not counted, then we effectively will not exist. That would reduce conservatives’ power in elections, allow Democrats to draw more favorable congressional boundaries and help put more tax-hiking politicians in office.”
We took a look at several of McHenry’s claims about the census in the Red State article, as well as in a press release he issued.
The first relates to the very premise guiding McHenry’s concerns, that “Early census returns are showing that conservatives have been measurably less likely than liberals to return their census forms.” We found that claim was based on the thinnest of underpinnings, and is largely unsupported. It earned a False rating.
Next, we looked at two claims that seek to allay Republican fears that the census is too prying and cumbersome.
The first is that “the most private question on this year’s form asks for an individual’s race and that question has been asked by every census since the 1790 census conducted under then-President George Washington.” We examined the census questionnaires all the way back to 1790, and found that they provide interesting insight into changing attitudes about race over the course of U.S. history. While every census dealt with race issues, it hasn’t always been a matter of “check your race here.” In the first census in 1790, for example, the census asked about the number of free white males and females; the number of “other free persons” and the number of slaves. We rated this one Mostly True.
We also looked at McHenry’s claim that, “This census is also the shortest and least intrusive count in modern history.” The 2010 census has just 10 questions. That’s two more than the short form in 2000, but in 2000, one out of six households would get a long form, which had 53 questions. There is no short form this year — everyone gets the 10-question version. So it’s arguable which of those is shorter. No other census in modern history comes close to being as short as 10 questions. And so we rated this one Mostly True.
As a bonus, we draw your attention to one more census claim, courtesy of our friends at PolitiFact Texas. It’s a claim from U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, that a census audit found more than 370,000 Texans were missed by the 2000 census, costing $1 billion in federal aid. They found that Reyes’ claim relies on an outdated report based on numbers the Census Bureau has said were flawed. It earned our worst rating, Pants on Fire!
From Radio Business Report:
A subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is planning to probe whether the word about the 2010 Census is being effectively delivered in certain “hard-to-reach” areas.
The hearing, entitled “The 2010 Census Communications Contract: The Media Plan In Hard To Count Areas” will be heard by the Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and National Archives. The date is 2/24/10 at 2PM eastern.
The subcommittee is chaired by William Lacy Clay (D-MO), with Patrick McHenry (R-NC) serving as Ranking Member.
Check out the letter from Rep. Patrick McHenry, ranking member on the subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives that was sent to the Census Bureau on Monday: Cost Overrun Letter 10/19/09
WASHINGTON – Congressman Patrick McHenry (NC-10), Ranking Member on the Census Oversight Subcommittee, released the following statement in response to the troubling admission by the U.S. Census Bureau that its cost estimation models are a complete failure. The recently concluded address canvassing operation went over budget by 25%.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) also reports that failures in the fingerprint training process led to the hiring of as many as 200 temporary census workers with criminal backgrounds.
“Republicans and Democrats alike stand ready to provide adequate funding for a successful census. But it now seems that the Census Bureau is incapable of determining what that cost will be.
“While I appreciate Dr. Groves being forthright and understand that these problems are not of his making, corrective action must take place immediately. The 2010 Decennial, which is already funded to the tune of $14.7 billion, is just around the corner. The Census Bureau must fix its costs estimation model quickly and report back to Congress with an accurate figure.
“The Census Bureau will soon begin hiring hundreds of thousands of temporary workers and yet its safeguards against hiring criminals are in jeopardy. GAO has identified insufficient training in fingerprint-taking as the cause of this failure.
“Bureaucratic incompetence that leads to the hiring of criminals as census takers threatens the integrity of 2010 Decennial. This problem must be fixed immediately and assurances must be given to Congress and the American people that it will not happen again.”
In what I can best describe as a State of the Census Address, Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves presented a detailed outline of his future plans before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives on 9/22/09. I have named the speech “The Groves Plan.” (Click the link for an 11 page transcript of the testimony). The plan is insightful and definitely worth reading.
By Congressman Patrick McHenry (NC-10)
When ACORN was announced as a national partner with the Census Bureau, I had grave concerns that the accuracy and integrity of the 2010 census would be jeopardized.
One of ACORN’s responsibilities would have been to recruit census workers. Given ACORN’s propensity for falsifying government documents, it seemed illogical that their employees would now be handling census forms. The Census Bureau was, in effect, inviting fraud in the 2010 census.
As the Ranking Republican on the Census Oversight Subcommittee, I privately encouraged the Bureau to reconsider. Subsequently, the Bureau and I engaged in a confrontational public dispute over their relationship with ACORN.
The Bureau would eventually listen to reason and agreed that ACORN could not be trusted to recruit census workers, but they continued to defend their partnership with this criminal enterprise. When the despicable conduct of ACORN was caught on tape and broadcast on BigGoverment.com, the Bureau officially got out of the business of apologizing for ACORN.
New Census Bureau Director Robert Groves deserves our respect for doing the right thing. Immediately following his confirmation, Director Groves pledged to me that he would seriously review ACORN’s partnership status. It is clear to me that Director Groves had ACORN on a short leash.
Director Groves’ decision is particularly remarkable considering that he was appointed by a Democratic President with close ties to the group. ACORN has essentially become the political field staff of the Democratic Party. Without question, there are many people in the Obama Administration who are unhappy with Groves’ decision.
Being dropped by the Census Bureau is proving to be a tipping point for ACORN, which has received at least $53 million in taxpayer funding. In March, Senator David Vitter offered an amendment that would have prevented ACORN from receiving additional federal funding. That amendment failed 53-43. On Monday, a similar amendment passed 83-7.
Now, every federal agency and every elected official must seriously reconsider their relationship with ACORN.
The GOP wants some questions answered from the man at the top, Robert M. Groves:
McHenry: Is ACORN recruiting census workers or not?
Internal documents at odds with Bureau’s claims to Congress
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Patrick McHenry, Ranking Member on the Census Oversight Subcommittee sent a letter to the U.S. Census Bureau concerning its partnership with ACORN.
While the Bureau has reported to Congress that ACORN is not recruiting census workers, internal documents contradict this claim.
Assuming the Bureau can reconcile these contradictions and verify that ACORN has been instructed not to recruit census workers, Congressman McHenry asked, “If ACORN has been singled out in such a manner because of its long criminal history, it begs the question, why are they a national partner in the first place? If they cannot be trusted to recruit enumerators, it would seem to me that ACORN should be disqualified as a partner altogether.”
Dr. Robert M. Groves
U.S. Census Bureau
4600 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, MD 20746
Dear Dr. Groves:
On July 10, 2009, Acting Director Thomas Mesenbourg wrote a letter to Congress clarifying the partnership role of the political advocacy group ACORN, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Mr. Mesenbourg stated definitively that ACORN “will not be involved in recruiting or hiring census employees.” However, information has come to my attention that requires further clarification from the Bureau.
Documents from the Bureau obtained by Judicial Watch contradict Mr. Mesenbourg’s letter to Congress. One such document details the organization’s partnership responsibilities, including “Identify job candidates and/or distribute and display recruiting materials.” Bearing his signature from February 12, 2009, this form indicates that Mr. Mesenbourg approved ACORN’s role as a recruiter of census enumerators.
Furthermore, promotional materials for the national partnership program indicate very clearly that partners will play a role in recruiting enumerators.
A) How do you reconcile this evidence with Mr. Mesenbourg’s letter to Congress?
B) If ACORN has been instructed specifically not to recruit enumerators, please provide
the dated correspondence between the Bureau and ACORN that verifies this.
C) Additionally, please provide a list of other national partners that have been instructed
not to recruit enumerators.
D) If ACORN has been singled out in such a manner because of its long criminal history,
it begs the question, why are they a national partner in the first place? If they cannot
be trusted to recruit enumerators, it would seem to me that ACORN should be
disqualified as a partner altogether.
In a document provided to Congress, the Bureau states that partnering organizations would be disqualified if they “could distract from the Census Bureau’s mission.” An internal document from the Bureau states that groups will be disqualified if they “might make people fearful of participating in the Census.”
E) How does the criminal background of ACORN reflect positively on the Census
F) As a criminal enterprise, how could ACORN in no way distract from the Bureau’s
Please submit written responses to the questions above to the Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives by August 24, 2009. Should you have any questions or need any additional information, please contact Alexis Rudakewych at (202) 225-2576.
Patrick T. McHenry
Subcommittee on Information Policy,
Census, and National Archives
 See Bureau letter to Mr. McHenry (July 20, 2009)
 See Bureau partnership form (February 12, 2009)
 See Bureau Form D-3207, Become a 2010 Census Partner, (April 2008)
 See 2010 Census Partnership Program, Partner Selection Process and Guidelines, page 2
 See Email, Barbara A. Harris, (March 17, 2009)
MyTwoCensus has spent a significant amount of time in the past week investigating the relationship between Draftfcb, GlobalHue, and the U.S. Census Bureau. We obtained the following document from a Census Bureau insider that shows how this site’s reports have led to congress investigating this $200 million contract:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 13, 2009
CONTACT: Bette Phelan (202) 224-2441
*** RADIO AND TV SATELLITE FEED TOMORROW ***
CARPER APPLAUDS CONFIRMATION OF CENSUS DIRECTOR GROVES
Sen. Tom Carper Encouraged Colleagues to Give Up Holds and Vote on Nomination
WASHINGTON (July 13, 2009) – Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) today applauded the confirmation of Dr. Robert Groves as director of the United States Census Bureau.
As chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security, Sen. Carper has been a key player in conducting Dr. Groves’ confirmation hearing, and in encouraging his colleagues to allow for his final confirmation vote today.
“Finally, less than six months before the first surveys go out nationwide for the decennial census, the Census Bureau will have the kind of leadership it needs in the form of newly confirmed director Dr. Groves,” said Sen. Carper. “I encourage Dr. Groves to get right to work, and I know that under his leadership we can address the serious challenges that could jeopardize the success and cost-effectiveness of the 2010 Census.”
At Dr. Groves’ confirmation hearing in May, as well as chairing several other hearings on progress of the 2010 Census, on the Senate floor today, Sen. Carper has stressed the importance of having an accurate, efficient and cost-effective count in 2010.
The results of the 2010 Census will affect everything from the apportionment of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives to the allocation of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal assistance to state and local governments.
The cost of the 2010 Census has escalated to an estimated $14 billion, making it the most expensive census in history, by far. It will cost the nation an estimated $100 to count each household in 2010, compared to $56 in 2000 and $13 in 1970.
*** RADIO AND TV SATELLITE FEED TOMORROW ***
Sen. Carper speaks on the floor late Monday evening about Dr. Robert Groves’ confirmation.
C-BAND DIGITAL SATELLITE FEED:
TOMORROW, WEDNESDAY, July 14, 2009 at 10:00am - 10:05am EDT
McHenry Congratulates Groves on Confirmation as Census Director
|WASHINGTON – Congressman Patrick McHenry (NC-10), Ranking Member on the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives, released the following statement in response to the confirmation of Dr. Robert Groves as Director of the U.S. Census Bureau.
“I congratulate Dr. Groves on his confirmation as our next Census Director. Because of his past support of manipulating census results, Dr. Groves would not have been my first choice for the position. However, having ruled out the use of statistical adjustment, I believe Dr. Groves is well positioned and well qualified to lead an accurate and successful 2010 Decennial. I look forward to working with Dr. Groves to ensure that Congress meets its obligations to provide vigorous and constructive oversight of the Bureau’s operations.”
The following is a press release from Rep. Patrick McHenry’s (R-NC) office:
|Republicans Encourage Bachmann
to End Census Boycott
|WASHINGTON – Congressman Patrick McHenry (NC-10), Congressman Lynn Westmoreland (GA-3), and Congressman John Mica (FL-7), Republican members of the Census Oversight Subcommittee, released the following statement regarding Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s boycott of the 2010 Decennial Census.
“We share Ms. Bachmann’s concerns about ACORN’s involvement in the 2010 Census and will continue pressuring the Bureau to follow their own guidelines for partnering organizations and dump ACORN. However, we can not emphasize enough how important it is for every individual to fill out their census forms.
“Every elected representative in this country should feel a responsibility to encourage full participation in the census. To do otherwise is to advocate for a smaller share of federal funding for our constituents. Boycotting the constitutionally-mandated census is illogical, illegal and not in the best interest of our country.
“The unfortunate irony is that Ms. Bachmann’s boycott only increases the likelihood that ACORN-recruited census takers will be dispatched to her constituents’ homes. Anyone who completes and returns their census form will remove any need for a census taker to visit their residence.
“Furthermore, a boycott opens the door for partisans to statistically adjust census results. The partisan manipulation of census data would irreparably transform the census from being the baseline of our entire statistical system into a tool used to wield political power in Washington.”
NOTE: The 2010 Decennial Census, not to be confused with the American Community Survey, will strictly utilize a short-form questionnaire for the first time ever. Under Sections 9 and 24 of Title 13, information collected by the Census Bureau is confidential and not shared with any other federal agency. Only an act of Congress could alter this statute.
Update: According to Rep. Patrick McHenry’s office, Rep. Pete Olson withdrew his amendment after he and McHenry discussed how important it was to fully fund the 2010 Census. This is what prompted the following letter from McHenry’s office:
Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act – Oppose Cuts to Census Funding
With operational costs increasing as we near Decennial Census Day – April 1, 2010 – the Census Bureau budget has become an easy target for offsets in the appropriations process. Several amendments have been filed that will strip even more crucial funding from the Bureau that is used for community outreach, advertising, non-response follow-up and data analysis. This could translate into fewer responses to the initial paper survey and a greater, more laborious effort in door-to-door follow-up visits by census workers.
Census data guides the allocation of $300 billion in federal funds to state and local governments, and representative districts from Congress to school boards are based on census results. It is absolutely vital that the census is fully funded to get a complete and accurate count of every person residing in America.
Help ensure that the 2010 Census is the most accurate decennial to-date by opposing any reductions to funding from the Census Bureau in the FY2010 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
MyTwoCensus would like to give a hat tip to TheCensusProject.org for reporting the following information:
CENSUS NEWS BRIEF
June 16, 2009 No. 65
BREAKING NEWS: 2010 Census Funding at Risk on House Floor
Funding for the Census Bureau next year could be slashed significantly as the U.S. House of Representatives begins debating the Fiscal Year 2010 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill (H.R. 2847) today.
Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) is expected to offer an amendment that would shift $566.5 million from the Census Bureau to NASA’s exploration account, more than eight percent of the $6.671 billion the Appropriations Committee allocated for 2010 census operations in the fiscal year that begins on October 1, 2009.
Numerous additional amendments that would siphon off funds from the Census Bureau — always a target for lawmakers seeking to boost funding for law enforcement, science, and other popular programs in the massive spending bill — are expected over the next two days.
According to analyses by the Brookings Institution, almost $400 billion in federal program funds annually — $4 trillion over the decade — is allocated to states and localities based in whole or in part on census data. The analyses, broken down by program and by state, are available on The Census Project web site at www.thecensusproject.org (under Fact Sheets).
The Census Bureau’s FY2010 budget also took an unexpected hit in the Appropriations Committee last week, when a misunderstanding between panel members and the Commerce Department (the Census Bureau’s parent department) led appropriators to reduce the agency’s funding by $206 million. Lawmakers had thought the amount, appearing in the President’s detailed budget request as a carry-over from 2009, represented extra money, when in fact the Census Bureau had committed the funds to a paid media buy.
The Administration told Congress yesterday that if the $206 million is not restored before Congress finalizes the Commerce spending measure, the Census Bureau would reduce a planned $573 million contingency fund for the 2010 census by that amount. The contingency fund, the Administration said, would cover unanticipated conditions, such as a lower-than-projected mail response rate or more vacant units that increase the non-response follow-up workload, or unforeseen events, such as a natural disaster or health pandemic. The emergency fund, Census officials told Congress, “is not a very large reserve for a once-a-decade program of this size and complexity, which must be completed by statutory deadlines.”
Census News Briefs are prepared by Terri Ann Lowenthal, an independent legislative and policy consultant specializing in the census and federal statistics. All views expressed in the News Briefs are solely those of the author. Please direct questions about the information in this News Brief to Ms. Lowenthal at TerriAnn2K@aol.com. Please feel free to circulate this document to other interested individuals and organizations. Ms. Lowenthal is a consultant to the nonpartisan Census Project, organized by the Communications Consortium Media Center in Washington, DC. Previous Census News Briefs are posted at www.thecensusproject.org.
Update: We understand that many of our readers are hoping to find out more information about the FedEx-gate Scandal. We will be holding our next post on this issue until tomorrow morning as we are currently fact-checking new major allegations.
Earlier today, Ed O’Keefe of The Washington Post reported, “the House lawmaker charged with overseeing the Census has expressed some early, if only vague concerns about how Census workers have performed their address canvassing duties, or the national inventory of every place of residence.
“While I’m very pleased that Address Canvassing has gone well for the most part, it’s too early to declare the operation a complete success because there are still some unanswered questions,” Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) said in a statement yesterday. “The Commerce Department Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office have both expressed concern about some listers not following procedures for Address Canvassing and some shortcomings in quality control measures.” A spokesman would not elaborate.”‘
Below, please find a press release that echoes many of the issues that MyTwoCensus has previously reported about employment and unemployment figures not adding up. Apparently at least one member of Congress (Patrick McHenry) has caught on…
McHenry: Is the Administration erroneously counting census jobs?
|WASHINGTON – Congressman Patrick McHenry (NC-10), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives, issued the following query regarding Obama Administration officials’ claims that the stimulus package will “save or create” 600,000 jobs over the next 100 days.
“As hiring for the 2010 Census continues, the American people ought to know whether the Obama Administration is attempting to include the thousands of temporary and part-time census workers in their count of 600,000 jobs ‘saved or created.’
“Including census workers would be disingenuous at best. First, the Obama Administration didn’t invent the census; these are positions which are created every ten years, regardless of who occupies the White House.
“Furthermore, attempting to combine these part-time and temporary jobs to count them as full-time positions is not an accurate picture of the nature of the work. As many families struggling to make ends meet with a series of part-time jobs can tell you, two part-time jobs does not equal one full-time job.
“I hope the Administration will be forthcoming about whether these temporary positions, which would have been created regardless of stimulus spending, are included in their jobs count.”
Note: The 2010 Decennial Census is expected to result in 200,000 hires in 2009, which the Office of Management and Budget scores as the equivalent of 17,197 full-time positions. In 2010, the Census Bureau will hire an estimated 700,000 workers, the equivalent of 105,391 full-time positions.