Keep Your Hands Off the 2010 Census, Republicans Tell the White House

By Susan Jones | February 12, 2009 | 8:21 AM EST

( – House Republicans will defend the integrity of the U.S. Census at a Capitol Hill press conference on Thursday.
On Wednesday, they sent a letter to President Barack Obama, expressing “grave concerns” about the administration’s plan to transfer control of the 2010 Census to White House staffers.
Doing so would result in “the unprecedented politicization of the Census and open the door to massive waste and abuse in the expenditure of taxpayer funds, billions of which are distributed on the basis of Census data,” Republicans wrote.
Republicans note that an estimated $300 billion in taxpayer funding is distributed by the federal government annually, based on the constitutionally mandated population count.  The Census head count determines how many congressional seats are apportioned to the various states.
Under an administration plan revealed late last week, control of the traditionally nonpartisan Census Bureau and the 2010 Census would be transferred from the Commerce Department to “political operatives” on the White House staff, which is headed by the former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.).
Republicans say there is no historical precedent for placing the Census under the control of the White House staff. 
“The Census Bureau is staffed by experienced and talented professionals who are leaders in the field of statistics,” the Republicans wrote in their letter to Obama. “In order to produce a fair, accurate and trustworthy count during the 2010 Census, the Census Bureau needs to remain an agency free from political or partisan influence.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2010 questionnaire “will be one of the shortest and easiest to complete since the nation’s first census in 1790.”
The questions on gender, age, race, ethnicity, relationship and whether you own or rent your home are essentially the same as those asked in 2000, the Census Bureau says on its Web page.