White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel would most likely be supervising the census. This is the man who, for the past few years, was chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). As such, his mission was to elect as many Democrats as possible to Congress. No person in America is better-versed than Mr.
Emanuel on exactly what redistricting and reapportionment plan would give Democrats a super-majority in Congress for the next decade.
Further, the White House can keep its census deliberations secret. This adds a dangerous dimension to the process. The Commerce Department is subject to the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), which requires public hearings and input for making rules and regulations, and requires agencies to explain how they account for all the evidence presented. But the White House is not an agency, and is exempt for the APA. If the White House takes over the census, they could incorporate suggestions from organizations such as ACORN and MoveOn.org on how to conduct the census, and all such meetings and consultations would be secret. So much for President Obama’s promise of transparency.
It is exactly this sort of Chicago-style politics that must be kept out of the census. The administration’s power grabbing scheme will allow for the worst sort of political dealing in smoke-filled backrooms.
Republicans should immediately introduce legislation to keep the census out of the White House. Nothing should be more independent of rank partisan politics than the process that determines the integrity of our representative democracy.
President Obama got elected talking about the audacity of hope. It is truly audacious for his administration to hope that Chicago-style politics could carry the day on this important issue.