Federal Eye: Census Nominee Would Resign to Avoid Politics

President Obama’s nominee to serve as Census director said he would rather resign than permit politics to interfere with the census, according to written responses to questions submitted by lawmakers in advance of his confirmation hearing.

Asked about potential political interference, Robert Groves stated that any such outside involvement would cause long-term damage to the Census Bureau.

“Political review of statements on statistical matters and limitations on presentations of scientific matters cannot be allowed,” he wrote, stating later that “if there are attempts at political interference in the statistical activities of the Census Bureau, which are so powerful that the director himself/herself cannot resist them, he/she must resign. I believe this and am prepared to resign, if necessary.”

Groves said he is comfortable with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke’s previous assurances of a politics-free census and has no reason to believe the White House will interfere.

The University of Michigan professor goes before a Senate panel Friday and is likely to face tough questions from Republicans still concerned about potential White House involvement in next year’s headcount.

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