"...The two-term congresswoman from Minnesota's Sixth District bluntly said she will not fully fill out the census form, a misdemeanor punishable by up to $5,000. Her census fear-mongering clearly could push others to do the same. What Bachmann is doing -- on national television, no less -- is encouraging people to break the law. That's not right-wing. That's not conservative. That's just wrong." (MN Star Tribune)
To be clear on the legalities:
- Title 13 of the U.S. Code prohibits anyone from accessing Census data (even the President of the United States). Doing so is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 under the Sentencing Reform Act (U.S. Census Bureau).
- The same Title XIII requires participation in the US Census by anyone asked to fill out the census form. Neglecting to answer a question on the form, or giving a false answer, is against the law. (Title XIII.7.221)
On top of this, consider:
- Each person not counted loses accurately in their current location loses their community over $1,000 per year for the next decade.
- Redistricting and apportionment is done based on the Census count, and every person counted or not counted makes a big difference. In Bachmann's home state of MN, for example, missing just one person in every township would mean losing a Congressional seat in 2010.
- The Census snaps a picture of our entire community- young and old, rich and poor, black and white, citizen and non-citizen. It's important that every face is included in that shot, so that we can have the best possible view of what our country looks like.