Ex-Cons at the Census Bureau

by Hans A. von Spakovsky

Four Republican members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (Representatives McHenry, Chaffetz, Westmoreland, and Mica) have sent a letter to Census Bureau (CB) director Robert Groves, who was asked at a recent hearing about the Bureau’s hiring temporary workers with criminal records to conduct the census. The GAO reported on October 7 that fingerprint checks had turned up 1,800 such workers, approximately 42 percent (750) of whom were “terminated or further reviewed [?] because the Bureau determined their criminal records — which included crimes such as rape, manslaughter, and child abuse — disqualified them from census employment.” That leaves 58 percent who were not terminated by the Bureau.

The four GOP congressmen want to know what crimes those 58 percent committed — a question Groves was either unable or unwilling to answer at the hearing. The problem may be even bigger, because 37,500 Bureau workers had “unclassifiable” prints, apparently due to errors made by the Bureau employees responsible for taking fingerprints.

The congressmen want the Census Bureau to agree not to hire anyone with a criminal record. It will be interesting to see what the Bureau’s guidelines are on this issue, and whether the American public thinks it is acceptable to have ex-convicts visiting our family members as official representatives of the government. Let’s hope that the Census Bureau is forced to collect new fingerprints from those whose prints are currently “unclassifiable,” and only employ workers whose records are known to be clean.