May 11, 2009
Today, Republican Members of the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives sent the following letter to the U.S. Census Bureau concerning its partnership with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).
Mr. Thomas L. Mesenbourg
U.S. Census Bureau
4600 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, MD 20746
Dear Mr. Mesenbourg:
On May 4, 2009, Nevada’s Attorney General filed criminal charges against the political advocacy group Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) for its role in voter registration fraud during the 2008 presidential campaign. While there have been countless indictments brought against ACORN employees, this is the first charge filed against the organization itself.
In light of this serious charge, we write to request that the Census Bureau reconsider its inclusion of ACORN in the Planning Partnership Program for the 2010 Census. ACORN’s involvement may compromise our shared commitment to an apolitical and accurate census count.
In response to hearing questions submitted by Members of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Census Bureau has previously stated that it will “not select partner organizations” that could “distract from the Census Bureau’s mission.” The Bureau also stated that “strong emphasis is placed on early identification and the urgency of swift remedial action” and that “if fraud is suspected, [an] enumerator will be relieved of duty.” The Bureau must hold partnering organizations to the same reasonable standards as its enumerators.
No one questions the desire of the Census Bureau to ensure the integrity of the census enumeration. However, if the Bureau believes that ACORN should remain a partner, we request written explanation of why its involvement is so essential that the credibility of the 2010 Census should be jeopardized.
Please submit the requested information to the Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives as soon as possible. Should you have any questions or need any additional information please contact Chapin Fay at (202) 225-5074.
Patrick T. McHenry Lynn A. Westmoreland
Ranking Member Member of Congress
Subcommittee on Information Policy,
Census, and National Archives
John L. Mica Jason Chaffetz
Member of Congress Member of Congress