The U.S. Census Bureau, reflecting what apparently is becoming a political position that involves more than one federal agency, has listed “hate groups,” “law enforcement” “and “anti-immigrant groups” among those that would be refused permission to become a partner with the 2010 Census.
The news comes in a series of documents obtained by Judicial Watch under the Freedom of Information Act about the census operations.
WND previously reported when the Department of Homeland Security released an “extremism” report that warned local law enforcement officers nationwide to watch out for “potential terrorists” including those who:
- Oppose abortion
- Oppose same-sex marriage
- Oppose restrictions on firearms
- Oppose lax immigration laws
- Oppose the policies of President Obama regarding immigration, citizenship, and the expansion of social programs
- Oppose continuation of free trade agreements
- Are suspect of foreign regimes
- Fear Communist regimes
- Oppose a “one world” government
- Bemoan the decline of U.S. stature in the world
- Are upset with loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs to China and India, and more
At the time, a lawyer pursuing a lawsuit against Department of Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano over the “extremist” report said he was not reassured by her later promise to “reword” the document.
“She says, ‘Well, we’re going to reword the document – and we’re going to make it more precise,’” Richard Thompson, president of the Thomas More Law Center, told WND. “That’s scary because we know they are still going to maintain some kind of targeting for various people that she’s never apologized to or never retracted [her accusations].”
At issue is the agency’s “Rightwing Extremism” report called “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.” WND has posted the report online.
The report linked returning veterans with the possibility of terrorism and when it was released, created such a furor for Napolitano she has given several explanations for it, including that she would have reworded the report and that it was issued by a rogue employee.
Thompson said no apology had been offered to most of the members of the various groups on which the government was painting a bull’s-eye.
Now come the documents from the Census Bureau, which said it wants to work with groups that “partnered” with the census in 2000, various other “national organizations” and other groups that “served one of the ‘hard to count’ clusters.”
The Census Bureau identified those groups as “the economically disadvantaged,” “the unattached mobile singles” and “high density areas with ethnic enclaves.”
The list of banned groups was found in an e-mail from Barbara A. Harris, the chief of the agency’s program for partnering with outside groups, to other staff members. She said the “criteria for NOT partnering with a group” included a failure to have worked with the organization in 2000, to be a national organization or other factors
Her note then said “hate groups” were not eligible, nor were “law enforcement, anti-immigrant groups, (or) any groups that might make people fearful of participating in the census.”
“This is the Napolitano memo Part 2,” Judicial Watch chief Tom Fitton told WND.
The documents indicate, “there may be an ideological agenda at work, in a discriminatory effort to keep conservatives away,” he suggested. “What’s a real slander is to suggest that the Fraternal Order of Police may be the equivalent of a hate group.”
The census, he said, should be politically neutral, counting numbers, not political opinions.
“One can be opposed to illegal immigration and you should be able to partner with the government,” he said. “It screams out violations of the First Amendment.”
Census Bureau spokesman Stephen Buckner told WND the list of excluded groups was assembled by Harris, who heads the federal agency’s partnership program.
He admitted the list probably “unfairly” lists law enforcement officers along with anti-immigrant groups. But he said the choice of groups with which to work is important, because there are population groups who, for example, don’t trust law enforcement, or don’t trust members of “anti-immigrant” groups.
“We don’t want to partner with an organization that is blatantly trying to exclude one group (illegal immigrants) for one reason or another,” he said.
Bucker told WND the goal is to count every living person in the United States at the time of the census, and “negative reactions” from members of the groups to be counted should be factored.
However, he declined several opportunities to answer WND questions about the Census Bureau’s partnership with groups such as ACORN, whose members repeatedly have been accused of illegal election activities, and whether there are population groups in the U.S. who would react negatively toward activities by that “partner.”
“All we’ve asked ACORN to do is simply share the word,” he said.
But according to Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, among the 126 pages of documentation obtained from the government is confirmation of the high level of influence that ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, has in the 2010 Census.
Judicial Watch said the documents describe 18 different areas of responsibility that ACORN asked to be given.
The Obama administration has downplayed ACORN’s involvement, saying the organization with which Obama worked earlier in his political career, would be allowed to “recruit” census workers.
But the documents show that ACORN also is an “executive level” partner with the ability to “organize and/or serve as a member on a Complete Count Committee.”
The census documents regarding ACORN also show the organization also signed up to “encourage employees and constituents to complete and mail their questionnaire; identify job candidates and/or distribute and display recruiting materials; appoint a liaison to work with the Census Bureau; provide space for Be Counted sites and/or Questionnaire Assistance Centers, sponsor community events to promote participation in the 2010 Census.”
The documents also show the Census Bureau wants ACORN to teach other organizations about the process, Judicial Watch said.
“Given its history of illegal activity and fraud, ACORN should be nowhere near the 2010 Census,” said Fitton. “And shame on the Obama Commerce Department for continuing to demonize conservatives by lumping together law enforcement and anti-immigration groups with ‘hate groups.’ This discriminatory policy raises First Amendment concerns. Indeed, these documents provide further evidence that the Obama administration is politicizing the 2010 Census.”
U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, meanwhile, has called for congressional hearings into ACORN’s finances that apparently includes a procedure called a “forensic audit.”
If you would like to sound off on this issue, participate in today’s WND Poll.