Controlling the Census: The Obama Administration's Power Grab

"The American people deserve a non-partisan census in 2010, and we hope the committee will ensure that goal comes to fruition by holding an oversight hearing on the administration’s potential plans to reduce the future secretary of commerce’s authority over the agency," Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) in a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee

The preservation and expansion of the Democrat majority is the only reason the Obama Administration is exercising its power and taking over the Census. Last week, without much fanfare, The White House moved control of the Census from the Commerce Department to the Executive Branch. The Democrats want to use “sampling” to add to the counts in urban areas homeless people and minorities that they believe will be under counted. The Supreme Court shot down the idea of “sampling” in the last Census, but the Obama Administration is going to tee it up again and see if it flies.

In the last Census, congressional seats moved from states that were losing population in the North and Northeast, to states that were gaining population in the South, Southwest and Mountain regions of America. That is a loss of power from generally Democrat strongholds to more likely Republican areas. That population trend is expected to continue which means more seats out of Blue States into Red States.

That’s why before the ink was even dry on the announcement of Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) as Commerce Secretary, the Congressional Black Caucus and Latino groups were complaining that a Republican could not be in control of the census. Instead of supporting Gregg and letting the confirmation process vet this issue, the White House immediately caved and gave the power of oversight of the Census to the White House and indicated that Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel would be in charge.

Not only is this the wrong political move to make, it may also be unconstitutional. It is the duty of the Congress to take the Census every 10 years and through a law passed in Congress, it gives the power to execute the Census to the Commerce Department. If Congress has established — by law — that Commerce has the responsibility, the White House can’t override that law. If it does so, the action is illegal and unconstitutional to boot.

It would be helpful to know what Senator Gregg has to say about this but so far he hasn’t commented. Maybe he received a dead fish in the mail from Mr. Emanuel. Many suspect that he didn’t see this coming but it is seen by most as a slap in the face to the integrity of Senator Gregg and the Commerce Department. Controversy over this isn’t new and that’s why a letter was sent last year to the President signed by every Census Director since Nixon supporting a bill to make the Census Bureau an independent agency.

The directors believe they could be more effective if they could deal directly with Congress and there’s a Constitutional argument to back that up. New York Democrat, Carolyn Maloney is the bill’s chief sponsor — so this is a bipartisan issue.

Many people, who won’t go on the record, are afraid of a Census process that is overseen by one of the most hyperpartisan people of our generation, Rahm Emanuel.

The Obama administration is quickly adopting the Chicago way of governing by fear. First the fear of economic collapse, which with the announcements and proclamations on a daily basis of doom and gloom seem to be riling the markets. Now they want to instill the fear that Republicans want to ignore minorities and the homeless in the Census count. To strip the Commerce Department of this responsibility just because a Republican is appointed to the position is a pretty sad state of affairs. But it’s only the beginning. This is not a “post-partisan” White House.

I’m a bit old school on the Census. I believe it should be a count and that’s it. The data derived from asking whether you have indoor plumbing or how many bedrooms you have is interesting, but not a part of the Census (and frankly none of the government’s business). The Census affects every aspect of how government asserts its power over us: the way our votes count — toward one congressman or another — results from the census. It provides the raw data by which government spending is allocated on everything from roads to schools. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also uses the Census to prepare the economic data that businesses rely on.

"The real issue is who directs the Census, the pros or the pols," says Bruce Chapman, who was director of the Census in the Reagan/Bush Era. "You would think an administration that’s thumping its chest about respecting science would show a little respect for scientists in the statistical field."

It a tad ironic that the Obama administration is standing firm on the “fact” of global warming but wants a hyperpartisan such as White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to oversee the Census.

John Fund, in the Wall Street Journal, said, “The Obama administration is downplaying how closely the White House will oversee the Census Bureau. But Press Secretary Robert Gibbs insists there is "historical precedent" for the Census director to be "working closely with the White House." Fund is one of the foremost experts on election fraud and ultimately, manipulating the Census is a tool to be used to steal elections.

You should be concerned about this. Call Representative Maloney and ask if she still supports the independence of the Census process and support Representative Blackburn as she leads the fight in the Energy and Commerce Committee.