Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

James O'Keefe strike again!

You all remember him, right? His investigative journalist pieces that crucified and crushed ACORN are legendary. He and Hannah Giles exposed ACORN for the corrupt organization that it is. (Yes, ACORN has reconstituted itself under a new banner. In California they are The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. In New York they are New York Communities for Change. And ACORN itself was renamed Community Organizations International. Thanks to Mr. O'Keefe's work, ACORN is dead, but not gone.)

Today, Mr. O'Keefe gives everyone a head's up on another story. This one involves the US Census in New Jersey. It's a story about the fraud going on behind the scenes there with the tax money we send to Washington, DC:

On April 27, 2010, I got a job with the United States Census Bureau in New Jersey. With a hidden camera, I caught four Census supervisors encouraging enumerators to falsify information on their time sheets. Over the course of two days of training, I was paid for four hours of work I never did. I was told to take a 70 minute lunch break, was given an hour of travel time to drive 10 minutes, and was told to leave work at 3:30pm. I resigned prior to doing any data collection but confronted Census supervisors who assured me, “no one is going to be auditing that that level,” and “nobody is going to be questioning it except for you.” Another Census supervisor only said he’d adjust my pay after I gave him a letter recanting my hours.

As to whether this is an “isolated incident” or if there are more Census videos showing more waste, fraud, and corruption, we’ll let you take a wild guess.

Given the fact that the Census is run by the federal government, this is hardly a surprise. Additionally, I doubt that this is an isolated incident. The nonchalant attitude about auditing not being done at the "street" level isn't surprising either. Washington, DC seems to have made a career out of wasting taxpayer dollars.

The downside of his reporting is that it doesn't deal with actually taking the data as a Census worker, or if there was any fraudulent tweaking of said data. Granted, this story is a fairly big one, especially if he can add more to this story, but it would've been a helluva lot bigger if he caught senior Census workers/supervisors fraudulently changing the data collected by other Census workers.

I'd love to see how far this story goes. His last series of stories brought down a corrupt community organizing group. Time will tell if the federal government audits it's actions, and deals with those who are wasting our money and committing fraud. My guess, as this story applies solely to New Jersey, a few Census supervisors are likely to be fired.

And this isn't the only story of Census fraud. There is this infamous story from 25 May 2010. It involves the Census cooking employment books to give the president some room on the unemployment numbers:

Last week, one of the millions of workers hired by Census 2010 to parade around the country counting Americans blew the whistle on some statistical tricks.

The worker, Naomi Cohn, told The Post that she was hired and fired a number of times by Census. Each time she was hired back, it seems, Census was able to report the creation of a new job to the Labor Department.

Below, I have a couple more readers who worked for Census 2010 and have tales to tell.

But first, this much we know.

Each month Census gives Labor a figure on the number of workers it has hired. That figure goes into the closely followed monthly employment report Labor provides. For the past two months the hiring by Census has made up a good portion of the new jobs.

Labor doesn't check the Census hiring figure or whether the jobs are actually new or recycled. It considers a new job to have been created if someone is hired to work at least one hour a month.

One hour! A month! So, if a worker is terminated after only one hour and another is hired in her place, then a second new job can apparently be reported to Labor. (I've been unable to get Census to explain this to me.)

Here's a note from a Census worker -- this one from Manhattan:

"John: I am on my fourth rehire with the 2010 Census.

"I have been hired, trained for a week, given a few hours of work, then laid off. So my unemployed self now counts for four new jobs.

"I have been paid more to train all four times than I have been paid to actually produce results. These are my tax dollars and your tax dollars at work.

"A few months ago I was trained for three days and offered five hours of work counting the homeless. Now, I am knocking (on) doors trying to find the people that have not returned their Census forms. I worked the 2000 Census. It was a far more organized venture.

"Have to run and meet my crew leader, even though with this rain I did not work today. So I can put in a pay sheet for the hour or hour and a half this meeting will take. Sincerely, C.M."

And here's another:

"John: I worked for (Census) and I was paid $18.75 (an hour) just like Ms. Naomi Cohn from your article.

"I worked for about six weeks or so and I picked the hours I wanted to work. I was checking the work of others. While I was classifying addresses, another junior supervisor was checking my work.

"In short, we had a "checkers checking checkers" quality control. I was eventually let go and was told all the work was finished when, in fact, other people were being trained for the same assignment(s).

"I was re-hired about eight months later and was informed that I would have to go through one week of additional training.

"On the third day of training, I got sick and visited my doctor. I called my supervisor and asked how I can make up the class. She informed me that I was 'terminated.' She elaborated that she had to terminate three other people for being five minutes late to class.

"I did get two days' pay and I am sure the 'late people' got paid also. I think you would concur that this is an expensive way to attempt to control sickness plus lateness. I am totally convinced that the Census work could be very easily done by the US Postal Service.

"When I was trying to look for an address or had a question about a building, I would ask the postman on the beat. They knew the history of the route and can expand in detail who moved in or out etc. I have found it interesting that if someone works one hour, they are included in the labor statistics as a new job being full.

"I am not surprised that you can't get any answers from Census staff; I found there were very few people who knew the big picture. M.G."

This is our tax dollars at work, folks. The Census is an important function of the federal government. Forget the federal money states get, and think more about the representation in Congress. This is how we determine that enumeration. And this administration, backed by bureaucratic red tape, is treating it like it treats everything else -- they act like an absentee landlord unfazed by the problems, but thrilled to be the focus of attention. I swear, based on these two stories, the Census appears to be as incompetent and narcissistic as the president is.

Publius II


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