Saturday, September 12, 2009

Poor ACORN. No Census for You!

Someone at the White House has been watching Fox News or reading conservative blogs about the ACORN videos that have surfaced over the last two days (See them here and here.) On Friday, Census Director Robert Groves sent a letter to the President of ACORN Maude Hurd informing her that ACORN would no longer play any role in the 2010 census.

The letter reads:

September 11, 2009

Ms. Maude Hurd

President

ACORN

739 8th St SE

Washington, DC 20003

Dear Ms. Hurd:

The goal of the U.S. Census Bureau's partnership program is to combine the strengths of state, local, and tribal governments, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, schools, media, businesses and others to ensure an accurate 2010 Census. While not (sic) Census bureau employees, partners are advocates for census cooperation and participation. They serve a trusted voices within their communities and are critical to our strategy to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place.

The Census Bureau has established criteria for partnerships, which are listed on our Web site at , and reserves the right to decline partnership or to terminate an existing partnership agreement with any group that 1) may create a negative connotation for the Census Bureau; 2) could distract from the Census Bureau's mission; or, 3) may make people fearful of participating in the census.

To that end, and in keeping with the standards we shared with your organization and others who volunteered to partner with the Census Bureau to help promote the 2010 Census, we are today terminating our Partnership Agreement with ACORN.

Over the last several months, through ongoing communication with our regional offices, it is clear that ACORN's affiliation with the 2010 Census promotion has caused sufficient concern in the general public, has indeed become a distraction from our mission, and may even become a discouragement to public cooperation, negatively impacting 2010 Census efforts.

While not decisive factors in this decision, recent events concerning several local offices of ACORN have added to the worsening negative perceptions of ACORN and its affiliation with our partnership efforts.

We do not come to this decision lightly. It was our original assessment that your organization could be helpful in encouraging cooperation with the 2010 Census among individuals who are historically hard to count, including renters, low-income residents, the linguistically isolated, and others. As of today, we have close to 80,000 partnership agreements with national and local groups - many of whom are trusted voices and serve these same populations - and we will be relying upon those groups to continue our outreach in the communities you serve. The full participation of those populations remains of utmost importance to us.

Unfortunately, we no longer have confidence that our national partnership agreement is being effectively managed through your many local offices. For the reasons stated, we therefore have decided to terminate the partnership.

Respectfully,

Robert M. Groves

Director


I believe the take-away quote paragraph from the letter is this:

"While not decisive factors in this decision, recent events concerning several local offices of ACORN have added to the worsening negative perceptions of ACORN and its affiliation with our partnership efforts."

Translation: "We've been forced to rely on citizen journalists to inform us of what most of America already instinctively knew. Namely, that ACORN is one jacked-up organization that needs to stay the hell away from the census."

Mr. Groves' words were more professional than my translation, but I'm not entirely convinced professionalism is in order when the nation has witnessed this organization happily shield an international underage prostitution ring. Twice.

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