The Association of Community Organizations for Reform (ACORN) is now a “national partner” with the U.S. Census Bureau, soon to help the White House find 1.4 million workers to canvass for the country’s 2010 census.
If the acronym rings a bell, it’s because the organization has a history of voter fraud charges in the last election cycle, according to a report by FOXNews.com.
ACORN will be joining with more than 250 national partners, including TARGET and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), to assist in the hiring of census workers around the country.
ACORN spokesman Scott Levenson told FOXNews.com, “ACORN as an organization has not been charged with any crime,” adding that concerns that the organization will unfairly influence the census are unfounded.
The U.S. Census Bureau has also gone on the defensive.
“The Census (Bureau) is a nonpartisan, non-political agency and we’re very dedicated to an accurate account,” bureau spokesman Stephen Buckner told FOXNews.com. “We have a lot of quality controls in place to keep any kind of systemic error or fraudulent behavior to affect the counts.”
Buckner said 140,000 census taker jobs must be filled to complete the first phase of the effort. Each applicant, he emphasized, must take a basic skills exam and is also subject to an FBI background check.
But there are many who remain concerned about the organization’s role.
"ACORN has been accused of voter fraud, embezzlement, and more... and yet this is a group that the federal government wants helping with the census?" asks Bobby Eberle of GOPUSA.
“It’s a concern, especially when you look at all the different charges of voter fraud. And it’s not just the lawmakers’ concern. It should be the concern of every citizen in the country,” Rep. Lynn A. Westmoreland, R-Ga., vice ranking member of the subcommittee for the U.S. Census, told FOXNews.com. “We want an enumeration. We don’t want to have any false numbers.”
ACORN came under assault in 2007 when Washington State filed felony charges against several paid ACORN employees and supervisors for more than 1,700 fraudulent voter registrations. In March 2008, an ACORN worker in Pennsylvania was sentenced for making 29 fraudulent voter registration forms.
Meanwhile, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a member of the House census subcommittee, said, “I feel fairly confident that the penalties for an individual manipulating the count are pretty severe,” noting that the penalties would certainly deter any fraud in the counting by workers. The penalty for any fraudulent activity can be up to five years in jail.
The census count is critical to both politicians and states because it not only determines congressional allocation, but it also provides the raw data by which government spending is allocated on everything from roads to schools.
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