Articles

20Dec

Congress Demands Transparency from the Census Bureau’s Ask U.S. Panel Project in Final FY23 Omnibus

An omnibus Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) appropriations bill was introduced early on December 20, 2022, including language demanding transparency on the Census Bureau's Ask U.S. Panel project, as requested by the leading nonprofit association for the insights industry.

The CJS report for the omnibus includes the following language: “Ask U.S. Panel Survey.-The Census Bureau is directed to provide a report to the Committees, no later than 90 days following enactment of this act, on the Ask U.S. Panel Survey's methodology, data collection processes, implementation, incurred and projected costs, procurement strategy, and plans to address any recommendations made by the Inspector General.

The House and Senate will likely pass the omnibus bill and send it to the President for signature into law by December 23, starting the clock ticking on the Bureau’s required transparency.

Howard Fienberg, Senior VP Advocacy at the Insights Association, cheered Congress for “recognizing the grave problems presented by the Ask U.S. Panel survey project and seeking basic transparency on it from the Census Bureau.”

He continued that, “This Census Bureau plan to develop their own probability-based online research panel has never made any fiscal sense, given that multiple private sector insights companies and organizations already offer well-established high-quality online panels, including probability-based ones, and could provide those services to the federal government at a fraction of the cost of this foolhardy project.”

Finally, Fienberg explained, “The Census Bureau, with this project, has been trying to compete with the private sector -- funding an additional insights firm to build an online panel that will be used to compete against the rest of the insights industry using intellectual property funded directly by federal taxpayers. This clearly violates a common-sense ‘Yellow Pages test’: why would you pay a premium for government to provide a service that could already be easily and affordably purchased in the open market?”

For further background, see the Insights Association’s:

About the Author

Howard Fienberg

Howard Fienberg

Based in Washington, DC, Howard is the Insights Association's lobbyist for the marketing research and data analytics industry, focusing primarily on consumer privacy and data security, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), tort reform, and the funding and integrity of the decennial Census and the American Community Survey (ACS). Howard has more than two decades of public policy experience. Before the Insights Association, he worked in Congress as senior legislative staffer for then-Representatives Christopher Cox (CA-48) and Cliff Stearns (FL-06). He also served more than four years with a science policy think tank, working to improve the understanding of scientific and social research and methodology among journalists and policymakers. Howard is also co-director of The Census Project, a 900+ member coalition in support of a fair and accurate Census and ACS. He has also served previously on the Board of Directors for the National Institute for Lobbying and Ethics and and the Association of Government Relations Professionals. Howard has an MA International Relations from the University of Essex in England and a BA Honors Political Studies from Trent University in Canada, and has obtained the Certified Association Executive (CAE), Professional Lobbying Certificate (PLC) and the Public Policy Certificate (PPC). When not running advocacy for the Insights Association, Howard enjoys hockey, NFL football, sci-fi and horror movies, playing with his dog, and spending time with family and friends.

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