The U.S. Census Bureau on Monday denied allegations from census workers that they were pressured to falsify tallies in order to finish data collection quicker.
The bureau released a statement in response to reports from The Associated Press of census workers, spanning from North Carolina to Washington, asserting they were rushed to close outstanding head-count cases as the census wrapped up.
The Census Bureau noted it “knows of no attempts to systemically falsify respondent information,” while at the same time boasting “one of the highest national address resolution rates in census history” at 99.98 percent.
“The Census Bureau takes falsification allegations very seriously,” the bureau said in its statement. “Intentional falsification of respondent information by a Census Bureau employee is a serious federal offense, will be fully investigated, and referred for prosecution, if appropriate.”
The AP initially reported that census takers in Massachusetts and Indiana were instructed by supervisors to input false answers. Ten other census takers told the AP similar stories where meeting the deadline was prioritized over accurate information.
In its statement, the bureau said some of the incidents reported to the media “may represent employment-related disputes and/or misunderstandings of operations.”
Federal law says that census workers who make false statements could be fined up to $2,000 and given an up to five-year prison sentence, according to the AP.
The allegations of falsified data come after President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE’s administration ended the data collection for the census on Oct. 15 after the Supreme Court suspended a court’s ruling that it needed to continue through Oct. 31.
A group of local governments and advocacy groups that sued the bureau is requesting a judge to extend the deadline for data organization until April 2021 from Dec. 31.
The Office of Inspector General announced it was looking into the data, and the bureau’s deputy director said last week that the bureau hasn’t discovered any red flags, according to the AP.