Judd Gregg’s flirtation with the top job at Commerce has brought the partisan battle over the US Census to the fore with just a year to go before before the official count, the New York Times reports. Most Americans may not think of the census as a political tool, but it helps determine representation, districting, and federal dollars. Republicans publicly suspect Gregg quit because the White House intends to take over the operation, something the administration denies.
The Commerce Department and White House oversee the Census Bureau and its director. Issues about how to conduct the count are numerous, and disputes invariably boil down to party-line disagreements. The GOP was up in arms over President Obama’s perceived intention to hijack the process, but that idea “is silly,” President Clinton’s census director said. “The census has many bosses.”