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For Immediate Release:
Contact: Clark Reid

CMB Congressional Members Join Census Bureau Professionals in Criticizing Release of Flawed Data by Presidential Board Members

Washington, DC – The Congressionally Appointed Members of the U.S. Census Monitoring Board today joined Census Bureau career professionals in criticizing the release of flawed data by the Presidentially Appointed Board Members in their misleading Census 2000 undercount report.

“The information being distributed to the media and the public by the Presidential Board members is just wrong – there are no adjusted numbers to release,” said Congressional Co-Chairman J. Kenneth Blackwell.  “What they are doing is irresponsible.  It must stop now.”

Blackwell also scolded the Presidential members for violating the trust placed in them by the Bureau in using the data for purposes other than research.  He pointed out that the Census Bureau provided access to the same confidential data being reviewed by the ESCAP committee to the Congressional and Presidential Members of the Census Monitoring Board, the House Census Subcommittee (majority and minority), and a group of experts representing the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

“The Presidential Board members and their consultants are attempting to second guess the career professionals at the Bureau and confuse the public by creating their own estimates,” continued Blackwell. “They have done what the Census Bureau was too principled to do and that is to use flawed data to attempt to adjust the census for partisan political purposes.”

In testimony Wednesday before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Commerce Secretary Don Evans and Acting Census Bureau Director William Barron said the Bureau is continuing its analysis of 2000 Census data.  Acting Director Barron subsequently said “it is important to note that the Census Bureau is not in a position to release a final estimate for any state or city … because of the uncertainties discovered in analyzing results of the Accuracy and Coverage Evaluation, including the comparison with demographic analysis, as we examined the Census 2000 undercount.”

“The undercount is a genuine American difficulty, to which we need genuine solutions,” noted Congressional Board Member Dr. David W. Murray, who also testified before the Committee.  “At this time, however, the technique of using adjustments cannot meet its primary obligation – being demonstrably more accurate than the data gathered by the original census.”

“It would seem that the priority of the Clinton-appointed Board members was to raise alarms in the front pages of the nation’s newspapers rather than raise genuine questions for the research community,” continued Murray.  “Let us not undermine the Bureau, the administration, and the legitimate census findings by ‘crying wolf’ with faulty data.  Doing that damages science and impoverishes the public discourse.”

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