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Utah's congressional delegation is calling President Obama's decision to move the U.S. census into the White House a purely partisan move and potentially dangerous to congressional redistricting around the country.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told FOX News on Monday that he finds it hard to believe the Obama administration felt the need to place re-evaluation of the inner workings of the census so high on his to-do list, just three weeks into his presidency.
"This is nothing more than a political land grab," Chaffetz said.
As a matter of impact, the census has tremendous political significance. Political parties are always eager to have a hand in redrawing districts so that they can maximize their own party's clout while minimizing the opposition, often through gerrymandering.
The census also determines the composition of the Electoral College, which chooses the president. If one party were to control the census, it could arguably try to perpetuate its hold on political power.
The results of the census are also enormously important in another way -- the allocation of federal funds. Theoretically, a political party could disproportionately steer federal funding to areas dominated by its own members through a skewing of census numbers.
"I've always remembered what Joseph Stalin said: 'Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.' The same principle applies to the census. Since one or the other party will always be in power at the time of the census, it is vital that the out-of-power party at least be able to observe the process to make sure it isn't being stacked in favor of the party in power. This will be difficult for the GOP since I suspect Democrats will control both houses of Congress for the entire Obama first term," Sabato said.