Ohio’s Complete Count Committee—which the Census Bureau spokesperson described as a “full partner”—is headed by the Democratic state treasurer, Kevin Boyce, who has a disturbing history of ethical lapses. His transgressions range from traditional cronyism to reckless handling of taxpayer money.
Here’s a brief highlight reel:
This is the man spearheading the state of Ohio’s “full partnership” with the U.S. Census Bureau. Boyce’s committee is also, in the words of the Census Bureau spokesperson, “encouraged to come up with creative approaches to increasing response rates.”
But “creativity” is the last thing we should want from someone with Boyce’s shady track record.
The potential for mischief is certainly greater than zero—especially with so much on the line. Hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake, and the skewing of the Congressional redistricting could even tip control of the U.S. House if the two parties are nearly tied in the other 49 states. That’s called incentive.
As for opportunity, Boyce’s committee will be given thousands of blank census forms to place at unmanned booths in “high-traffic” locations across the state. These “Be Counted Sites” will allow any passerby to grab a form, fill it out, and send it in.
From the handling of the forms by the committee to the completion of them by ordinary Ohioans, it’s all on the honor system. Census Bureau spokesperson Lisa Cochran wrote in an e-mail, “Be Counted Forms will be checked against mail-in questionnaires to ensure that they are not duplicates of forms already received, and that they belong to verifiable addresses.”
That said, there’s little the Census can do for verification if someone claims to have been transient or homeless, or if a household resident count is slightly inflated.
As “full partners” in the 2010 census, Boyce and his cronies presumably would have the knowledge of how best to game the system—and his lapses show that he doesn’t allow ethics to stand in his way.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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