Skip to comments.Census Officials in New York Instructed Workers to Falsify Questionnaires, Says Inspector General
Posted on 07/20/2010 11:46:15 AM PDT by IbJensen
(CNSNews.com) - The Commerce Departments Inspector General (IG) has confirmed whistleblower allegations that management at a local Census office in Brooklyn, N.Y., directed employees to falsify Census questionnaires during the decennial counts largest and most expensive operation known as Non-response Follow-Up.
Furthermore, the IG noted that during the Census Bureaus efforts to re-count the fabricated questionnaires, employees charged with that task were inferring the number of household residents through improper means.
The complaints specifically alleged that the [Brooklyn Northeast local Census office] manager and assistant manager for field operations had directed employees to falsify enumeration questionnaires using information from an Internet database rather than attempting to conduct in-person interviews as required by Census procedures, Todd Zinser, IG for the Department of Commerce, stated in written testimony prepared for a hearing held by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Monday.
The accuracy of the Census count is important because the 435 members of the U.S. Congress are apportioned among the 50 states by population. States that have relatively more people by the Census count are entitled to more members of Congress than states that have relatively fewer people. If New York's Census count were artificially inflated by falsified questionnaires that could increase New York's representation in Congress.
The fabrications took place during Non-response Follow-up (NRFU), the Census operation in which enumerators visit and conduct interviews at addresses where the households did not respond to the original Census questionnaires, added Zinser.
In short, based on Censuss internal findings and our own independent investigative efforts, the initial allegations have been confirmed, he explained.
We became aware of the allegations concerning the Brooklyn Northeast LCO [local Census office] on June 14, 2010, when our hotline center received two e-mailed complaints alleging improprieties by the LCO manager and assistant manager for field operations, testified Zinser.
Our hotline center received a third e-mail on June 16, repeating the same allegations as the earlier complaints, but also indicating that an LCO operations supervisor resigned rather than comply with the managers orders, he later added.
According to the IG, the assistant manager for field operations and two office clerks, between June 9 and 11, printed out an estimated 1,000 blank questionnaires from a commercial Internet database used by the Census.
The Internet database known as FastData, which should have been restricted to the assistant manager, was used to forge Census questionnaires used to count households.
On June 12 and 13 [Brooklyn Northeast office] manager instructed two clerks to fill out the questionnaires using the supplied FastData printouts, and, in the sections that were not covered by the FastData information, to falsely record that the resident had refused to respond. Finally, these two clerks relayed the [local Census office] managers instructions to other clerks in the office, who in turn completed questionnaires in the same improper manner, added Zinser.
The commerce IG pointed out that according to early media accounts of the situation there were approximately 10,000 cases of potential falsification.
However, this was Censuss rough estimate given the information available at the time. Our current understanding, from Censuss analysis of the incident, is that 4,221 household records required re-enumeration as a result of the whistleblower allegations, stated the Commerce IG.
The IG pointed out that there is no evidence to suggest that the local office manager and the assistant manager were instructed to take this improper action by headquarters or the regional Census center in charge of the Brooklyn Northeast office.
On July 7, my office contacted the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Eastern District of New York about the whistleblower allegations we received concerning the Brooklyn Northeast LCO, testified Zinser. Only the Department of Justice can determine whether criminal prosecution is warranted in this case.
The IG pointed out that the Census Bureau has safeguards in place to protect against the misuse of FastData, such as restricted access and written guidance on the databases appropriate use.
While the IG gave the Census Bureau credit for conducting its own investigation and taking corrective action, he also noted that additional allegations have been raised with respect to the [bureaus] remediation efforts.
Two subsequent complaints to OIG and Census allege that these efforts have caused additional problems, explained Zinser. On July 7 and 8, we received allegations that during remediation efforts, some of the employees assigned from the other Brooklyn [local Census offices] to perform the re-enumeration were inferring the number of household residents through improper means.
The office of the inspector general at the Commerce Department and the Census Bureau have each independently substantiated this allegation, added Zinser.
Zinser concluded that a misinterpretation of Census Bureau directives for enumerators to follow in last-resort cases may have led employees to improperly count the number of household residents.
These directives state in part that enumerators, together with their crew leaders, may make the determination about the status of the address based on their best judgment, testified the IG.
Census defines status as whether the housing unit at a given address is considered occupied, vacant, or nonexistentbut it did not intend for its instructions to direct enumerators to make assumptions about and enter the number of residents on the questionnaire, explained Zinser.
Forgive me, but I told ya so. Suckers!
One of the things this means is that they are not fining people for non-response.
They must know that the last thing they want is for the long-form census to be involved in legal proceedings of any kind.
Garbage in - garbage out.
Forgive me, but I told ya so. Suckers!
Of course this little zinger from the article will result in no serious investigation or prosecution:
Only the Department of Justice can determine whether criminal prosecution is warranted in this case
Our pathetic, central socialist government is literally killing America! Thanks to what’s been going on the USA has slipped down the list of blessed nations and will slip even more!
China stands willing and able to step in as the world’s #1 superpower.
“under represented groups” will have their numbers increased. How do they know it’s an under represented group? Because it’s an “oppressed” “downtrodden” “have not” group and the “oppressors” are bad people and they are over represented and this country is racist and there was slavery and some guy in the tea party had a racist sign and someone made a poster of Obama as the joker and those eevvil Republicans tried to block healthcare and that Republican said Macaca.
So are Republicans going to wait for the fake census data to strip them of all power before they do something legally about this?
This is as bad or worse than voter fraud.
The Republicrats are an amazing gaggle.
When the Democrats take a crap on the floors of Congress the Republicrats obligingly sweep it up. Republicrats are obliging patsies to the Democrats. While talking to one of their Democrat ‘buddies’ another is giving the clueless pubbie a hotfoot!
They are allowing the communists to take over this nation by their inaction. Their considering the approval of Kagan to slouch on the SC as inevitable is absolutely disgusting!
If someone would give me an hour to come up with a list of truly conservative Republicans I would have one on my list:
Jeff Sessions (R) AL