Politifact.com gives Bachmann low marks for Census statements

WASHINGTON, D.C. – GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann has earned two more “pants-on-fire” ratings from Politifact.com, a fact checking website that investigates the validity of statements made by public figures.

Politifact, which won a Pulitzer Prize this year for its sleuthing efforts, found Bachmann’s recent statements about the Association of Community Organization for Reform (ACORN) and the U.S. Census to be “wildly wrong.”

Politifact focused its analysis on an interview that Bachmann did with the Washington Times  in which she expressed concern with the Census Bureau’s partnership with ACORN.

“Now ACORN has been named one of the national partners, which will be a recipient again of federal money,” Bachmann said in the interview. “And they will be in charge of going door-to-door and collecting data from the American public. This is very concerning because the motherload of all data information will be from the census.”

ACORN, however, is one of around 30,000 Census Bureau partners.

“ACORN and other partner organizations simply promote the availability of temporary census jobs, but have no role in the terms or conditions of employment beyond promotion of the availability of temporary jobs,” according to Politifact.

Thus, Politifact concluded the following:

“ACORN will not be ‘in charge’ of going door-to-door and collecting data from the American public, as Bachmann said. The U.S. Census will be in charge of that. Some of the 1.4 million people who get Census-taking jobs may learn about the job through ACORN. Workers who apply to the Census through ACORN have no better shot at the job than those who apply through any of the 30,000 other partners. That’s it.

“And despite Bachmann’s claim, ACORN gets no money for signing on as a partner.

“Once again, she is making a scaremongering claim about ACORN with facts that are ridiculously wrong. So we have to set the meter on fire once again. She earns another Pants on Fire.”

In the same interview with the Washington Times, Bachmann also said that she and her family would not be answering any of the Census Bureau questions beyond how many people were in their home.

“We won’t be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn’t require any information beyond that,” Bachmann said.

Politifact, however, dug through the Constitution and found that no such specification exists.

The Constitution states that the Census shall be taken every 10 years in accordance with the law set by Congress, which requires people to answer “any of the questions on any schedule submitted to him in connection with any Census.”

According to Politifact, “Even the very first census in 1790 included more than just the question of how many people lived in the household.”

Those who refuse to fill out the entirety of their Census questionnaire, or refuse to answer questions by census takers, could face fines from $100 to $5,000.

In response, Bachmann spokesman Dave Dziok said that Bachmann’s office had received hundreds of calls from citizens all over Minnesota and the nation expressing similar concerns with the Census.

“No matter what way you slice it:  the Constitution calls for a headcount and Congress has added on additional questions over the years as government has grown,” Dziok said.  “And, yes, some of those questions are extraordinarily personal. And while Congress and the Census Bureau both say that they will take confidentiality very seriously, they said the same thing in 1940.”

The 1940 Census Bureau data was used, as Bachmann has charged,  to round up Japanese-Americans and put them in internment camps in the United States.

Since then, however, Congress has passed laws to specifically protect information it collects, Politifact reported.

Politifact concluded that Bachmann was not only engaging in fear mongering, but also encouraging people to break the law.

Of the five Bachmann statements that Politifact has analyzed, the Sixth District Republican has now earned two false ratings and three “Pants-on-Fire” — the lowest possible score.

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 07/01/2009 - 11:18 pm.

    Here’s what REPUBLICAN members of the Information Policy, Census, and National Archives SubCommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform had to say about Bachmann’s rant against the Census:

    “Every elected representative in this country should feel a responsibility to encourage full participation in the census. To do otherwise is to advocate for a smaller share of federal funding for our constituents. Boycotting the constitutionally-mandated census is illogical, illegal and not in the best interest of our country.”

    (see http://minnesotaindependent.com/38401/bachmann-census-mchenry)

  2. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 07/02/2009 - 02:00 pm.

    Bachmann is ACORN’s best friend. They couldn’t buy this kind of publicity of their work. Her lunacy is the best possible discrediting of conservative conspiracy theories about ACORN.

    When she’s gone from office, we’ll still have her for entertainment, because she’ll undoubtedly turn into a pundit. A bad pundit, but surely in great demand.

  3. Submitted by Wally Carr on 07/03/2009 - 10:40 am.

    It is not in the interest of the conservative movement to lie, and to frame every discussion to fit an ideological agenda. Michelle Bachmann is the Andrea Dworkin of the Right.

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