Nuts for ACORN

In about a year, the next U.S. Census will be upon us. However, one group participating in the survey is already driving some lawmakers nuts.

In February, The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) signed a partnership with the Census Bureau to “assist with the recruitment of the 1.4 million temporary workers needed to go door-to-door to count every person in the United States.”

While the bureau currently has partnerships with more than 250 national organizations from the NAACP to TARGET, ACORN’s past allegations of fraud have raised the most concern.

The organization – a non-partisan group of low-and moderate-income people – came under fire in 2007, when several paid employees were alleged to have created more than 1,700 fraudulent voter registrations. In 2008, another worker in Pennsylvania was sentenced for creating 29 phony registration forms.

The census is used to “determine distribution of taxpayer money through grants and appropriations and the appointment of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives” and lawmakers do not want any fraudulent computing.

Spokespeople for both ACORN and the Census Bureau have refuted any suggestion that “any group will fraudulently and unduly influence the results of the census.”

Though doubts still remain, the bureau is now focusing on the more than 1 million applicants for 140,000 census taker positions, which is where assistance from organizations such as ACORN becomes needed.

Government accountability is under attack – as it was during the Bush administration, so shall it be under Obama. Given ACORN’s past reputation, confidence in the census itself could come up for question.