GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann has been on a fear mongering rampage over the 2010 US Census. Yesterday, Census Bureau spokesman Steve Bucker went on Minnesota Public Radio to clear up Bachmann’s misconceptions. He said that the Bureau is working with Bachmann to explain the rules to her.
Bachmann has been on Fox News this week making claims about the Census. In one appearance she said, “Finally, I am very concerned about ACORN. Remember, it was the Obama White House that wanted to pull the Census into the White House, and conduct the Census. Why is this important? The Census is the motherload of all data collection in the United States, and now ACORN, which in many places has served as the electioneering arm of the Democrat Party, now ACORN is being encouraged to become a national partner in the Census.”
Then she warped some American history, “If we look at American history, between 1942 and 1947, the data that was collected by the census bureau was handed over to the FBI and other organizations, at the request of President Roosevelt, and that’s how the Japanese were rounded up and put into the internment camps. I’m not saying that’s what the Administration is planning to do. But I am saying that private, personal information that was given to the census bureau in the 1940s was used against Americans to round them up.”
According to Think Progress, Buckner explained why people should fill out the Census form, “It’s very important for everyone to complete their Census and answer the questions because there’s so much at stake. First, it’s political representation for your local levels, but it also directs about $300 billion in federal funds back to state and local governments every year.”
He addressed Bachmann’s concerns about data collection, “There’s the 2010 Census, which asks 10 questions and will be completed in 10 minutes. That goes to every single household, and those will be mailed out in March of 2010. I believe the questions that are being referenced are actually a separate survey that conduct called the American Community Survey, which goes to roughly 3 million addresses every year as part of a continual rolling survey.”
Buckner talked about the safeguarding the collected information, We do not share any of the personal information that you provide, to any other government agency, law enforcement agency — that information is strictly confidential, and we all have to take an oath for life, under Title XIII, to protect that data. But most of it is all aggregate statistical data. So your personal information is pretty much off of it. That oath that we take — if we violate it and release any kind of personal information, we can be imprisoned for five years and fined $250,000. So we take it very seriously. Your data is safe with the Census Bureau.”
He also said that the Census Bureau was working with Bachmann to explain the rules, “Well, we certainly are working with the Congresswoman’s office here in DC, and have already had a briefing with her to explain the rules of the Census and why they’re there, and explain some of the Constitutional law. I mean, the Supreme Court has upheld the powers of the data to be collected. But we’re not asking anything on the 2010 Census that I can see that would be intrusive in terms of the basic information. For the most part, people put more information on a credit card application than they do on the Census form.”
All I can say is good luck explaining anything to Bachmann. I don’t think anyone can convince her that Obama and ACORN aren’t going to use the Census to send Republicans to internment camps. She is so paranoid that she will think that the Census Bureau is lying. However, it was important for the Census Bureau to get out there and start refuting Bachmann’s crazy claims.