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Republicans to Bachmann: Fill Out the Census

Hotsheet reported two weeks ago that Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann is refusing to fill out 2010 census forms beyond the number of people in the household. "The Constitution doesn't require any information beyond that," she said.

Bachmann, a Republican, complained the forms are "very intricate" and "very personal." She also expressed concern about the possible involvement of the liberal community group ACORN, which has been accused of voter registration fraud, in data collection.

Now three House Republicans on the panel that oversees the Census Bureau are urging Bachmann to rethink her position.

"Every elected representative in this country should feel a responsibility to encourage full participation in the census," they said in a statement. "To do otherwise is to advocate for a smaller share of federal funding for our constituents. Boycotting the constitutionally-mandated census is illogical, illegal and not in the best interest of our country."

The three Republican representatives – Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, and John Mica of Florida – wrote that they "share Ms. Bachmann's concerns about ACORN's involvement in the 2010 Census and will continue pressuring the Bureau to follow their own guidelines for partnering organizations and dump ACORN."

"However, we can not emphasize enough how important it is for every individual to fill out their census forms," they write. "… The unfortunate irony is that Ms. Bachmann's boycott only increases the likelihood that ACORN-recruited census takers will be dispatched to her constituents' homes. Anyone who completes and returns their census form will remove any need for a census taker to visit their residence."

Bachmann spokesman said in a statement that the representative is standing by her earlier position.

"We appreciate their views and hope to be able to work with them to keep ACORN – which has earned public mistrust through its repeated voter registration fraud – out of the census," he said.

In her comments on the census, Bachmann said "ACORN has been named one of the national partners, which will be a recipient again of federal money. And they will be in charge of going door-to-door and collecting data from the American public." notes that ACORN will not be "in charge" of going door-to-door, that it is one of 30,000 partners, and that it will not get money for signing on as a partner. (Others say there are 40,000 partners.)

"Once again, she is making a scaremongering claim about ACORN with facts that are ridiculously wrong," the organization writes, giving Bachmann a "Pants On Fire" rating.

As a partner, ACORN's "primary responsibility is educating hard-to-count urban populations about the importance of an accurate headcount," according to a Census official who spoke to the Wall Street Journal.

Bachmann could be fined up to $5,000 for not filling out the census. As the New York Times notes, she told Fox News in June that she is not encouraging others not to fill out their census forms but that she and her family have to "draw the line."