A government watchdog organization is raising alarms that even after a federal investigation blasted the U.S. Census Bureau 13 years ago for “hiring criminals to enter American homes,” that still is going on.
From the Office of the Inspector General in the U.S. Department of Commerce, it bluntly warns, “The Census Bureau needs to improve management and oversight of vetting employees to void hiring unsuitable individuals for federal employment.”
The report to Census Director Robert Santos from Arthur Scott Jr., an assistant inspector general for audit and evaluation, found, “the bureau continues to face longstanding challenges in providing sufficient governance for its personnel suitability program…”
The report found the bureau is failing to adjudicate results for 7% of temporary 2020 Census pre-employment, fingerprint-only investigations and its data system is “incomplete and, in some instances, inaccurate.”
It found “dozens of employees who worked on address canvassing in advance of the 2020 census had major issues flagged on their investigations, which typically means employees are automatically disqualified from their federal jobs.”
The watchdog report said chunks of the 28-page report on redacted, “but the gist is well conveyed, that the Census Bureau has long failed to screen its workforce and therefore endangers the public.”
The watchdog report said, “It’s not like there isn’t a vetting system in place. When one of the 248 regional offices recruit a candidate, the Census Investigative Services (CIS) at the agency’s headquarters in Suitland, Maryland is charged with conducting a pre-employment suitability review. The process includes sending fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and a credit history as well as self-disclosed criminal record to CIS for review.
“Nevertheless, the Bureau still hires felons—including sex offenders—at regional offices nationwide.”
It cited an example of a hire in Charlotte, North Carolina, where a man convicted of felony involving sex with a child was a regional recruiting manager.
Judicial Watch said, “The bureau’s negligent security practices have been on the radar of federal lawmakers for years. Over a decade ago, congressional investigators slammed the agency for failing to adequately conduct mandatory background checks for tens of thousands of workers, resulting in the hiring of hundreds of violent criminals. At the time, the probe found that more than 35,000 temporary census workers were employed without the proper criminal background check, which includes fingerprinting.”
At that time, investigators said the hiring personnel were poorly trained to apply the rules.
“Twelve years ago Judicial Watch reported that the Census Bureau knowingly hired a registered sex offender with a long criminal history to make home visits even though such convicts are banned from working for the agency. The embarrassing gaffe came to light when a young mother in a New Jersey suburb recognized the census worker who came to her home from the state’s registered sex offender database,” the report said.
“She initially thought it was safe to provide the man with information because he was a legitimate government worker with a badge and bag sporting the U.S. Census Bureau’s official logo. Incredibly, the sex offender used a fake name to get the census job but failed a fingerprint check after getting hired. The agency still let him to complete four days of training and allowed him to visit homes even though he did not pass the background check.”
Judicial Watch said, “The latest audit, released last week, shows that virtually nothing has changed after all these years and that the bureau has done little to improve its derelict hiring practices.”
Found were 6,802 workers who were not properly adjudicated, the report said.
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