“We believe an ethical standard of honesty in our work was shattered,” says whistleblower Jerry Huffman. “Our credibility with the public was destroyed by this operation.”

Exclusive Investigation

U.S. Census Bureau Denies Whistleblowers’ Claims of Fraud


September 2022

BY MARK SAXENMEYER

A year after The Reporters Inc. began investigating claims by three whistleblowers that the validity of the 2020 U.S. Census may have been compromised by “systematic cheating,” the Census has responded with 88 pages of documents refuting the allegations.

At the same time, one of the whistleblowers, former Census Partnership Specialist Jerry Huffman, has decided to publicly reveal his identity, in a new, first-person account for The Reporters Inc.

In January 2021, The Reporters Inc. first reported Huffman and the other whistleblowers’ anonymous claims that their Census bosses ordered them to file phony documentation regarding the creation of Census “Partners” or “Partnerships.” Huffman says these orders should deeply concern the American public about the integrity of the Census and its 2020 results.

By definition, Census Partners can be businesses or nonprofits, churches or school districts, tycoons or the guy next door. Once signed up by Partnership Specialists like Huffman, 2020 Partners agreed to recruit more people to fill out the Census questionnaire. The Partnerships were designed to encourage and persuade groups and communities—who might be wary of the Census or mistrust the government—to participate.

But Huffman claims he and his fellow whistleblowers were asked to create and register false or nonexistent Partners solely to “convince politicians and the public that there was record-setting support for the Census, when there may not have been.”

Because the Census count ascertains population size, it can lead to a redrawing of Congressional, state and local district boundaries, and determine how much funding a community receives for new roads, schools, hospitals, programs, etc. “Yet in my mind,” Huffman writes, “Questions still remain whether it all was done honestly and ethically.”

In January 2021, a Census spokesperson told The Reporters Inc. that the Census “will give its full cooperation to any inquiry or investigation. The Census Bureau takes falsification allegations seriously.”

A month later, in February 2021, Charles Betterton, a former U.S. Census Bureau supervisor in the Chicago region, contacted The Reporters Inc. to corroborate the veracity of the fraud allegations brought by the Census Bureau whistleblowers. “I was compelled to respond to the story,” Betterton said, “because I knew it to be true, and…I was and am concerned about any possible impact on the credibility of the Bureau and the accuracy of the 2020 Census.” (more…)

Jerry Huffman is an Emmy award-winning journalist whose reporting and producing career spans nearly four decades. His many previous roles include anchoring for the Austrian Radio Network and serving as a foreign correspondent for the German television network, Deutsche Welle. Additionally, Huffman spent nearly two years as an advisor for a State Department program teaching journalism in Central Asia. In addition to his more recent work with the U.S. Census Bureau, Huffman runs his own media consulting firm, Go2Guy Communications.

Census Whistleblower Goes Public

What Happens When You Blow the Whistle, but Nobody Listens


September 2022

BY JERRY HUFFMAN

They were words I had heard before. From presidents to governors to local city council members — all taking the Oath of Office: “…to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

But this time, I was the one holding up my right hand and repeating the same words. It was May 2019 and I, along with about a dozen other soon-to-be-colleagues, was taking the same oath of office to become a Partnership Specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau.

For me, taking the oath was highly emotional. It was my first job where I had to pledge before God and country that I would do my very best. My heart was pounding as I said those 34 words.

The job was straightforward. Partnership Specialists were tasked with recruiting and signing up partnersfor the 2020 count. Partners could be individuals, organizations or companies, and they were needed because they helped and recruited even more people to fill out the Census questionnaire.

For example, they might agree to put up posters in their workplace, discuss the Census in meetings, or hold a patriotic rally. All Partnership Specialists were expected to recruit groups in both the private and public sectors to be part of the Census. If a major employer could be convinced to support the Census, they could reach thousands of their employees with a single e-message. If a local coffee shop would hang pro-Census posters in their windows even more people would see positive messages.

 

Jerry Huffman on the town square of rural Belleville, Wisconsin in 2020. “We distributed thousands of pieces of Census materials,” he says of his time as a Partnership Specialist. “Our number one mission was to remind people of the importance of the Census.”  (more…)

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