Harassed by the Census Bureau

I’ve documented the whole thing at my personal blog here, here, here and today’s event here.

To summarize: My address was chosen for the 2010 census. I received the first questionnaire booklet a few months ago and tossed it into the trash. I received a second booklet a few weeks later which also found its way into the trash. About 2 weeks ago I received a postcard (page 1) saying that since I hadn’t returned the required information that I’d have to contact a bureaucrat by the name of Edward Marcus to setup a time to provide the information in person. I ignored it and last weekend after being in North Carolina for the weekend I came home to a hand delivered envelope which had a letter (page 3) about how I was obligated to participate. On Monday I received a letter in the mail (page 4,5) again explain why I needed to give them the info they wanted, what law mandated that I did so and what would happen if I didn’t.

Today at five after six in the evening Edward Marcus rang my doorbell and I had a nice 10 minute chat with him. He went over and over about how I needed to give him my name and info and I told him again and again that I wouldn’t. After attempting to trick me into giving him my info and making sure I knew the consequences of my continued failure to participate he got back into his SUV and drove off.

He said nothing about whether or not I’ll be hearing back from him or if I’ll be summoned to explain why I won’t play nice. For the entertainment of it all I hope they continue after me.

37 thoughts on “Harassed by the Census Bureau”

  1. i think some people have gotten in some serious trouble for ignoring the census.

    not saying the gov’t is legal or moral, just that they have all the guns.

  2. I’m aware of the consequences but they really aren’t that bad. At least not at face value. $100 fine for what I’m doing. My only question is what they would do if I didn’t pay the fine. From some info I’ve found online few if any have been actually fined for not participating. In one article from the last census a congressman said the fine was just an incentive to get people to participate.

    If they fine me I won’t pay it. If they jail me I’ll have the MLP and more there backing me up. It’ll be fun.

  3. ok… just making sure.

    If you pay the fine, your whole exercise will be for naught. Not one of ignoring the states authority, anyways. Just saying that you prefer your oppression in the form of $100 fines rather than via forced 10-minute censuses.

    If you go the other route, you count on me to support you.

  4. Actually, there is a 3rd route you can go:

    but I think that technically may be in violation of the non-aggression principle.

  5. EEE555: Yeah… I think so. It’s unlikely he’d voluntarily go for that.

    Jim: Good idea. Unfortunately it’s too late for that now and our next chance is a decade away. We could burn the crap they sent to get me to comply. I don’t know of anyone else who was picked let alone refused though.

    1. May not be a decade away. The Census Bureau conducts surveys for various branches of government on a daily basis.
      PLEASE NOTE; The bureau also terminates employment of those Field Representatives that are unable to scare you into participating. Poor Mr. Marcus, along with myself may be on the unemployment dole even now.

  6. Too late because I threw away the booklets they sent me.

    I had misspoken about it being the 2010 census. But I’m blaming the Census Bureau for that. It’s really the American Community Survey but the pamphlet they sent me about it has Census 2010 printed on it. I had figured it was just some fancy name to get people to do the census. I hadn’t realized they send out questionnaires all the time for crap.

  7. There is a description of it on Wikipedia. Unsuprisingly Ron Paul has a writeup about it which is linked from the article. Seems I should have done more research. Not that it would have changed things.

  8. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

  9. I also am on thwo away version 2. I will not “rat” on myself for anyone or pay the fine. I’ve researched it some and to sate only two (2) people since 1960 have been actually fined. Odds are pretty good that it’s safe to ignore the census.

    Last time in 2000, I did the same and finally a woman showed up at our door and I DID supply basic how many and what ages were in my house, but nothing else. THey don’t need to know how many toilets, etc.. She wasn’t too happy. I was polite but explained I believed that the feds had overstepped their constitutional grounds and that the number of people is ALL that the constitution allowed by law. She went away and I never heard from them until this round of harassment.

  10. I too have had the same thing with the whole census thing. I felt like I was reading a blog I didn’t write. I refuse to answer their stupid questions. I am never home when the chick comes to my apt. but leaves a lovely message for me. They don’t need to know anything about me. I live under the poverty level and we are not much cared about anyway. So what, state gets money per person. Like I’m never going to see any of it. So they can take their stupid questions and shove ’em! Until government gives a crap about the little people, I will give a crap about them.

  11. Every one of you sounds like a big f’ing tit! ‘Oh weah, they’re picking on me.’ Give me a break- you’re bringing it on yourselves. They are basic questions that they are asking; not like they want a bank account number, or the name of the last bimbo you had a one night stand with. Why be dinks about it?…what difference does it make?…just to be an a**hole. We’ve only been going through this for a couple hundred years now. It’s not like something that popped up last week. If you think you’ve got it so bad here, move to France or something. Idiots…

    1. screw you dweeb ! some people cherish their privacy. Something you obviously wouldn’t understand. A census of head count is not a bother. But more than that is non of anybody’s business.

      A promise that the government won’t use any information for anything else because it is against the law, is hollow. The government is the biggest violator of its own laws on a daily basis. Where the hell do you live that you don’t see that?

      1. Amen Gary! Anything more than a head count is an invasion, and is not required by law. I will, however, be happy to disclose to them what caliber pistol I carry, should they choose to ignore my polite request to leave! 🙂

  12. So you’d be more then happy to provide me with all your ACS info if I just appeared at your door and threatened to fine you $5k if you refused?

    Isn’t the responsibility on the person acting to justify their actions not the individual being acted on? I’m not going to treat the US government any different from anyone else with regard to such questions. I have no interest in telling you or anyone else how much I make, how far I drive or how much heating oil I use.

  13. Constitutional law should hold this one down since Artical 2 specificaly limits congressional powers.. this is the letter I sent them and would like anyone to contact me and lets get this stopped right now.. Privacy ios an Issue and our right

    Robert M. Groves
    Director, US Census Bureau
    United States Department of Commerce
    Washington, DC 20233-0001
    Office of the Director
    Dear Mr. Groves;
    Since the Constitution established a federal government of limited enumerated powers and that document does not grant them the general power to request the information, I am under no constitutional obligation to provide it, and therefore refuse to answer the ACS.
    As stated in the US Constitution Article 1 Section 2:
    I only have to fulfill my duty as a citizen by helping you enumerate, and I’m not required to answer any questions until the next Census in 2010.
    These questions clearly violate any privacy guaranteed to me by the US Constitution and over step the Census Bureau’s authority. I have therefore included both Article 1 section 2 of the US Constitution, and the US Supreme court’s decisions in upholding the right to privacy
    Article I – The Legislative Branch
    Section 1 – The Legislature
    All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
    Section 2 – The House
    The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.
    No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.
    (Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.) (The previous sentence in parentheses was modified by the 14th Amendment, section 2.) The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five and Georgia three.
    Supreme Court
    “Neither branch of the legislative department [House of Representatives or Senate], still less any merely administrative body (Census Bureau), established by congress, possesses, or can be invested with, a general power of making inquiry into the private affairs of the citizen. Kilbourn v. Thompson, 103 U.S. 168, 190. We said in Boyd v. U.S., 116 U. S. 616, 630, 6 Sup. Ct. 524,―and it cannot be too often repeated,―that the principles that embody the essence of constitutional liberty and security forbid all invasions on the part of government and it’s employees of the sanctity of a man’s home and the privacies of his life. As said by Mr. Justice Field in Re Pacific Ry. Commission, 32 Fed. 241, 250, ‘of all the rights of the citizen, few are of greater importance or more essential to his peace and happiness than the right of personal security, and that involves, not merely protection of his person from assault, but exemption of his private affairs, books, and papers from inspection and scrutiny of others. Without the enjoyment of this right, all others would lose half their value.”

    Thank you for your time and attention to this, and I expect this Matter to be closed.

  14. fines under artical 13 of the US code refer to the census every 10 years, however if they tell you otherwise they are lying.

    The American Community Survey
    As stated above, the Census Bureau will be using the American Community Survey to extract personal data that it previously received on the old long form. Once again, this information will have absolutely nothing to with apportioning direct taxes or determining the number of representatives in the House of Representatives.
    Authority for the Census and the American Community Survey
    On their web-site, the Census Bureau claims the American people are “required by law” to provide the information requested on either form and our response is “mandatory.”
    For the Census, they cite the provision of the Constitution referenced above as their authority to request the information.
    For the American Community Survey, they cite Title 13, United States Code (U.S.C.), Sections 141 and 193 as their authority to request the information.
    Section 141 (d) states, in part: …the Secretary, in the year 1985 and every 10 years thereafter, shall conduct a mid-decade census of population in such form and content as he may determine…
    Section 141 (e) (2) states: Information obtained in any mid-decade census shall not be used for apportionment of Representatives in Congress among the several States, nor shall such information be used in prescribing congressional districts.
    Section 141 (g) As used in this section, “census of population” means a census of population, housing, and matters relating to population and housing.
    Section 193 states: In advance of, in conjunction with, or after the taking of each census provided for by this chapter, the Secretary may make surveys and collect such preliminary and supplementary statistics related to the main topic of the census as are necessary to the initiation, taking, or completion thereof.
    The first thing reader should note is the difference between the statement of authority for the 2 surveys. The Census falls under the Constitution while the American Community Survey is merely based on a statute passed by Congress.
    The second thing the reader should note concerning section 141 is the reference to a mid-decade census of population. There is no constitutional authority for mid-decade census. See again Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution.
    The third thing the reader should note concerning section 141 is the statement that the information obtained from the mid-decade census cannot be used for the constitutional purpose of the actual Census.
    The fourth thing the reader should note concerning section 141 is the statement that the mid-decade census is being used for housing, and matters relating to population and housing. Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 does not contain a grant of power concerning these subjects.
    This takes us to the other section cited as the authority for the American Community Survey. Section 193 restricts census surveys and the collection of preliminary and supplementary statistics…to the main topic of the census…necessary to the initiation, taking, or completion thereof. Constitutionally, the only topic of a census is a head count for apportioning direct taxes or determining the number of representatives in the House of Representatives. Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 does not contain a grant of power for any other census. The other ones referenced in section 193 fail to meet the constitutional topic of the only census enumerated in the Constitution.
    Note: See again the first 2 constitutional principles discussed at the beginning of this article and then apply them to the American Community Survey.
    Penalty Provisions for Failure to Comply with Either Survey Request
    On their web-site, the Census Bureau states the penalty provision for failing to comply with either survey request is found in Title 13, U.S.C., Section 221.
    Pursuant to this section, refusing to provide the requested information or neglecting to complete either survey subjects you to a fine of not more than $100.00. Willfully giving information that is false subjects you to a fine of not more than $500.00.
    Then, in what I believe is a blatant attempt to misrepresent federal law and install fear in the hearts and minds of the American people so they will provide the requested information, the Census Bureau included the following statement after their reference to the section 221 penalties referenced above:
    Title 18 U.S.C. Section 3571 and Section 3559, in effect amends Title 13 U.S.C. Section 221 by changing the fine for anyone over 18 years old who refuses or willfully neglects to complete the questionnaire or answer questions posed by census takers from a fine of not more than $100 to not more than $5,000.
    A review of Title 18 shows it is entitled:“CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE.”
    Section 3559 is entitled: “Sentencing classification of offenses.” Section (a) states: “Classification.—An offense that is not specifically classified by a letter grade in the section defining it, is classified if the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is—(9) five days or less, or if no imprisonment is authorized, as an infraction.
    Section 3571 is entitled: “Sentence of fine. Section (a) states: “A defendant who has been found guilty of an offense may be sentenced to pay a fine.” Section (b) states in part: “…an individual who has been found guilty of an offense may be fined not more than the greatest of—(7)for an infraction, not more than $5,000.” This is the only reference to a fine in the amount cited by the Census Bureau that matches the provision in section 3559 above.
    The $5,000.00 fine referenced in section 3571 is a post conviction fine that only applies to an individual who has been charged and convicted of a criminal infraction as defined in section 3559. Unless an individual has been charged and convicted of some criminal offense connected to the Census and the crime is classified as an infraction, this $5,000.00 fine does not apply. Thus, their assertion that these sections changed the fines in section 221 to $5,000.00 is…you fill in the blank. In my mind, it’s a blatant lie that borders on fraud.

  15. are you all serious? they ask namebirthdate and phone number. if you really think the goverment doens’t already know that info, you are sadly delusional.

  16. 1. The article is reference to the American Community Survey which is a rolling census related to but separate from the normal census. Perhaps you’ve not received it but it includes far more than name, birth data and phone number. Feel free to look into it.

    2. If the government has that info then what need is there for me to provide them with it again? Why are they spending so much to get me to give them info you claim they already have?

    3. They ask for more than name, birth date and phone number. Particularly race which if you know history was used in the United States to round up Japanese, German and Italian Americans during WWII and put them in camps. The Census also gave the defense department the names of Arab Americans after 9/11.

    3. Asking for such information is not necessary for delegation of federal representatives. Even so the current 435 seats are arbitrary held at 435. If representation was proportional to that at the beginning of the country there would be a couple thousand members in the House of Representatives. Should the state I reside in loose or gain a seat in that 435 I really fail to see what impact that has on my life and therefore why I should care.

    1. that’s very narrow minded of you, bile. no wonder this country’s going down the crapper, no one cares about anything but themselves anymore. by the way, i’m one of the enumerators and name, birthdate and phone number are the important questions. you are free to decline to answer sex and race.

  17. Why should I care about some federal politician’s origin? Whether they are from New Jersey or Nevada… if they don’t advocate my system of beliefs they are failing at their role as *my* representative. If you advocated a return to a reasonable representative proportions perhaps I’d care. Perhaps like New Hampshire. Otherwise the abstraction is such that to believe that any of those 435 members in a 1/700,000 ratio could possibly represent me is madness.

    Why are those important questions? So the government can allocate money to local programs? Programs that I fundamentally disagree with and empirically are often little more than handouts to those with connections? Not interested.

    Oh and the whole not being a part of the Constitutional requirement means nothing to you?

    I’m free to decline all of it. I have and will continue.

    No wonder this country is going down the crapper… people don’t care about protecting individual rights anymore. If you want to fill out the census… feel free. I’d never force you to do or not do something against your will. I’m just asking for the same respect.

  18. There was way more than 10 simple questions on the form I received as advertised on t.v. So with privacy in tact I returned the form with household number filled in (10), sex (Often)and race: I found African American crossed off African and circled American. That’s it all you need to know.
    A month later MS. Enumerator arrived to question about the empty apartments in the building and if they were occupied on April 1, I told her that they weren’t . She tried to trick me and asked for my Name and Phone number in case her boss needed to verify she was doing her job. I told her that I really don’t care if she does her job.
    I asked her for her card and said that I would insert it in a return envelope if they sent a letter via occupant. She did not have a card, so she said. I guess temps don’t get them. So Check, Checkmate, end of story. See you in ten years.

  19. I would like to take a moment and thank all you people that don’t fill out your census forms. It cost about $80 million dollars for each 1 percent of people that don’t return the census and have to get personal visits. I really appreciate having to pay more money in taxes to support the nonsensical paranoid fears that some people have concerning the census.

  20. “It cost about $80 million dollars for each 1 percent of people that don’t return the census and have to get personal visits.”

    Stop trying to force people to do something they don’t want to do and it wouldn’t cost a thing.

    It’s also a little funny and short sighted that you would complain about $80m when the Bush and Obama administrations continue to allow the Federal Reserve and Congress to spend and print hundreds of billions of dollars to bailout corporations who failed their customers. To wage wars against people who never posed a threat. To force millions to obey their idea of how the health insurance field should work.

    Perhaps I just don’t care to tell the federal government personal information. Just as I don’t tell others. If you noticed this post was about the ACS which includes far more then who, race and age. As for being paranoid. Tell that to the Japanese, Italian and German Americans who were put in concentration camps or jailed during WWII. Or the Middle eastern Americans that had their personal information turned over by the Census department to the Defense Department after 9/11. Or the millions of others in so many other countries throughout time that had had census data used to round them up, take their firearms, etc. Oh… but I’m sure you believe it couldn’t happen here… *again*.

    It’s not about paranoia… it’s about privacy… and I’d appreciate if you didn’t threaten me with jail time and $5k fines for wishing to keep my privacy.

  21. Bob in Panama City, Fl

    Good for you!!!!!!!! I sent the survey in and still have received 4 followup calls wanting to go over it all again. Today when it happened I started speaking only spanish. Next time I’ll use hebrew. Then greek I guess. They are a pain in the a- -.

  22. The proper response when they come to your door is Don’t answer, wait till they leave and pitch their visit form into file 13 along with all the other junk. The census is just more BS that the federal government thinks it can foist on the sheeple of America. It is time we all Just Said NO!

  23. We’re at the beginning stages of harrassment by the census bureau. We did fill out our form when it came, but we gave them only the info required which is how many people reside at our address. We sent it in. A couple of months later, they rang the door bell. I was out of town at the time by my husband took the time to chat with the guy and give more info. Now they’re calling here like every other day saying they need more info. I actually called them back and told them we were done. That we had given them the info that we were required to give. Another call came in just a few minutes ago. At this point it would be easier to answer their stupid questions and be done but now it’s the principle of the situation. We participated. Not once, but twice and they still want more. No way. I’m done.

  24. It’s nice to see that there are people who are as upset about the Census Bureau overstepping the boundaries.
    We were “selected” to participate in the US Dept. of Commerce’s Economics and Statistic reports for the Census Bureau. It is the “Consumer Expenditure Survey.”
    They ask questions about ALL of your expenditures after going through ALL about the residents of your home, how many rooms, bathrooms, etc.
    They want to know EVERY dollar that you have spent.
    I was a blind sheep and was intimidated by the threats of fines and saying i was breaking the law.
    This particular set of data is used for consumer spending reports, updating the consumer price index and I don’t know what else.
    They require quarterly meetings to go over all of your expenditures for the last three months. I mean ALL.
    If I told them I went to the salon and spent $100, they’d ask what I had done there. If I said haircut and waxing, they’d want to know what I had waxed and how it broke out in cost.
    It’s time for our third meeting and I am balking. I have been reading and studying about how Obama is and has overstepped the Constitution this country is founded on … and I am ticked off. I was reading about the tax hikes coming our way in 2011 and about the way he and his admin are taking away states’ rights.
    Anyway, I think it’s time to tell them to just go back from whence they came. They are HOUNDING me beyond belief. Calling, calling, calling – calling on different numbers that I do reverse lookup for and see it’s different numbers at the Census office or her cell or home number. When she calls for a meeting, she won’t take no and she won’t take that I can’t meet her on whatever day she wants to set. She insists that it HAS to happen, must happen. So now I just don’t answer the calls, she leaves endless messages. And she comes by and rings the doorbell at odd times trying to “catch” me.
    I don’t know what the fine is for not answering this financial census. Have you heard about this Consumer Expenditure Survey?
    In the recent letter from them, they quote that Fed law authorizes the collection of this info and cites Titles 13 and 29 of the US Code, and Sections 9 and 214 of Title 13 require them to keep confidential the info.
    Way out of control …
    I’m a weenie and looking for some pep talks to keep me from giving in to this invasion of our privacy.

  25. I filled out the 1st form the Census sent me. Not long ago recieved another form American Community Survey. It said I had been chosen to fill out the survey. They kept sending them, so I filled it out. Bogus name and numbers and wrote “exempt” on everything. Now I’m getting calls from them telling e to refer to a case #. Do I need to return the call. After all I didn’t put my phone number on it, which leads me to believe my 1st Census report was actually good enough.

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