In the home stretch of the 2012 presidential campaign, from August to September, the unemployment rate fell sharply — raising eyebrows from Wall Street to Washington.
The decline — from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September — might not have been all it seemed. The numbers, according to a reliable source, were manipulated.
And the Census Bureau, which does the unemployment survey, knew it.
Just two years before the presidential election, the Census Bureau had caught an employee fabricating data that went into the unemployment report, which is one of the most closely watched measures of the economy.
And a knowledgeable source says the deception went beyond that one employee — that it escalated at the time President Obama was seeking reelection in 2012 and continues today.
“He’s not the only one,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous for now but is willing to talk with the Labor Department and Congress if asked.
The Census employee caught faking the results is Julius Buckmon, according to confidential Census documents obtained by The Post. Buckmon told me in an interview this past weekend that he was told to make up information by higher-ups at Census.
Intriguing. But even so, National Review’s Jim Geraghty urges caution after talking to a Census source:
One Campaign Spot reader is a veteran of the Census Bureau, who finds some elements of the story believable, but is skeptical that this sort of dishonesty could be widespread within the organization:
I worked at the Census Bureau for 23 years and knew the people who ran the CPS Branch. It is true that the vast majority of Census employees support Obama but I have a hard time believing that they would risk their careers by deliberately manipulating the employment data. It is true that interviewers sometimes submit fake completed interviews (curbstoning) but this is usually due to pressures to meet a target of completed interviews or laziness or both. Even if there was a coordinated conspiracy to fake the unemployment numbers, doing it by having a lot of interviewers fake interviews seems to be an inefficient and risky way to do it.
Unless there is a lot more information out there that hasn’t been reported I would not believe this story. I say this as one of the few people I knew at Census who did not support Obama. I also admit that a lot of things I didn’t think possible have happened in this administration.
However, if any economic data was falsified, we can rest assured that the Obama administration will seek out the perpetrators, most likely rogue low-level employees acting on their own initiative in the Cincinnati office, just like in the IRS scandal.
If there is indeed a scandal and cover-up here, how much higher up did it go? Bring on the investigations & hearings, Congress!