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It\’s Always Amusing When Those Enforcing The Law Don\’t Know It

Normally it would be a bigger story, but against the backdrop of Iran imploding and North Korea throwing it\’s quarterly temper tantrum, it\’s gotten less play.  But since it\’s a story the left is salivating over, it might actually stick around long enough to get interesting.

Outspoken Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann says she\’s so worried that information from next year\’s national census will be abused that she will refuse to fill out anything more than the number of people in her household.

In an interview Wednesday morning with The Washington Times \”America\’s Morning News,\” Mrs. Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, said the questions have become \”very intricate, very personal\” and she also fears ACORN, the community organizing group that came under fire for its voter registration efforts last year, will be part of the Census Bureau\’s door-to-door information collection efforts.

Hmmm, interesting approach.  Personally I\’d say it\’s more important to make sure my demographic gets counted as much as possible since if what she\’s saying is correct, ACORN is going to pad the numbers against me anyway.  So really not filling out my information is self-defeating.  But that\’s not the interesting part.

Shelly Lowe, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Census Bureau, said Mrs. Bachmann is \”misreading\” the law.

She sent a portion of the U.S. legal code that says anyone over 18 years of age who refuses to answer \”any of the questions\” on the census can be fined up to $5,000.

Even more interesting….although not for the reasons you think.  It\’s interesting because wondering just what orifice* Shelly Lowe pulled her version of the legal code from.  Because my version of the US Legal Code is pretty explicit on what the penalties are.  Problem is Lowe\’s numbers are off by several orders of magnitude (50 to be exact).

13 USC Sec. 221 01/08/2008


Sec. 221. Refusal or neglect to answer questions; false answers

(a) Whoever, being over eighteen years of age, refuses or
willfully neglects, when requested by the Secretary, or by any
other authorized officer or employee of the Department of Commerce
or bureau or agency thereof acting under the instructions of the
Secretary or authorized officer, to answer, to the best of his
knowledge, any of the questions on any schedule submitted to him in
connection with any census or survey provided for by subchapters I,
II, IV, and V of chapter 5 of this title, applying to himself or to
the family to which he belongs or is related, or to the farm or
farms of which he or his family is the occupant, shall be fined not
more than $100.
(b) Whoever, when answering questions described in subsection (a)
of this section, and under the conditions or circumstances
described in such subsection, willfully gives any answer that is
false, shall be fined not more than $500.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, no person
shall be compelled to disclose information relative to his
religious beliefs or to membership in a religious body.

I realize using facts it pretty unfair of me in a debate with government official but you\’ll have to excuse me, I\’m an asshole.  You see Bachmann at WORST could be fined $100.  If she knowingly provided false information it\’s $500, although leaving it blank doesn\’t qualify.   That\’s it.

Actually according to the real US Legal Code, not Shelly Lowe\’s version, the only person that could stand to incur a $5,000 fine would be ACORN, if they wrongfully disclosed information, which is basically what Bachmann is worried about.  So it appears Lowe is getting her violations confused.  Which makes her statement that Bachmann is misreading the law all the more amusing.

* I\’m taking bets on the orifice.  Odds are as follows:
Ass – 3:1
Mouth – 4:1
Genitals – 50:1
Nasal Cavity – 75:1
Ear – 100:1
Gaping hole in her cranium 2:1