Outspoken Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann says she’s so worried that information from next year’s national census will be abused that she will not fill out anything more than the number of people in her household.
In an interview Wednesday with The Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News,” the Minnesota Republican said the questions have become “very intricate, very personal” and that she feared ACORN, the community organizing group that came under fire for its voter registration efforts last year, would be part of the U.S. Census Bureau’s door-to-door information collection efforts.
“I know for my family the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home,” she said. “We won’t be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn’t require any information beyond that.”
Shelly Owe, a spokeswoman for the bureau, said Mrs. Bachmann is “misreading” the law.
She sent a portion of the U.S. legal code that says anyone older than 18 who refuses to answer “any of the questions” on the census can be fined up to $5,000.
The Constitution requires a census be taken every 10 years. Questions range from number of persons in the household and racial information to employment status and whether anyone receives social services, such as food stamps.
Mrs. Bachmann said she’s worried about the involvement of ACORN, the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now, in next year’s census.
“They will be in charge of going door to door and collecting data from the American public,” she said. “This is very concerning.”
ACORN has applied to help recruit census workers. Republican lawmakers and some public interest groups have expressed concern over its involvement.
ACORN staffers have been indicted in several states on charges of voter registration fraud, stemming from the organization’s efforts to register voters last year.
Mrs. Bachmann, who is in her second term in the House, has become a lightning rod for criticism from Democrats and liberal talk-show hosts for her unapologetic conservative views.
She said she considers that “a badge of honor.”
“It’s clear when a person speaks out against those policies they become a target, and that should be concerning to everyone,” she said.