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Pioneer Editorial: Census: Do we count Bachmann?

Minnesota's 6th District U.S. House member, Rep. Michele Bachmann, has continually proven to be a loose cannon on deck. She came through again last week in announcing a boycott of the U.S. Census.

Republican Rep. Bachmann said she would not participate in the U.S. Census in completing her forms next year because the Census Bureau is partnering with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, known as Acorn, for the 2010 Census.

Not only is she again the purveyor of misinformation, she's setting a bad example for Americans who are already finicky about participating in filing out forms for the government.

First of all, the U.S. Constitution mandates a census be taken every 10 years and that it's against the law not to participate.

Second, Acorn is not in any way participating in gathering, counting or tabulating the Census. As a community organizer, it is only spreading the word that there is a Census and why it's important to participate, and to help in letting people know there are jobs available for the 2010 Census, especially that of enumerator.

"Boycotting the constitutionally mandated Census is illogical, illegal and not in the best interest of our country," three of Rep. Bachmann's colleagues said in a statement Wednesday. "Furthermore, a boycott opens the door for partisans to statistically adjust census results." That came from Reps. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia and John Mica of Florida, all members of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and National Archives.

Data from the Census is extremely important to Minnesota, and may well determine if Minnesota keeps eight U.S. House members or drops to seven. The Census is also used to apportion federal monies between the states, with Minnesota giving more to Uncle Sam in taxes than it gets back now.

The data collected is confidential, and only used as statistics. No one individual Census filer will ever be disclosed. And, all Census Bureau employees are subject to a $250,000 fine, a five-year prison term, or both, for disclosing an information that could identify a respondent or household.

Rep. Bachmann has again shown how she can demagogue a subject and not show an ounce of logic in her highly partisan reasoning. It appears that the person who once declared that President Obama "may have anti-American views," many now consider the Census anti-American.

We can, and must, ignore Rep. Bachmann's odd swings in the dark. Unfortunately, the people of the 6th District who elected her have to live with her.