Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Congressional Committee asks Perdue to explain release of embargoed data

Carolina Journal   January 3, 2012
RALEIGH — The U. S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce 
has requested that Gov. Bev Perdue provide information spelling out how 
she was able in August to release North Carolina employment data that was 
supposed to be protected by an embargo.

In a letter sent to Perdue Dec. 21, Committee Chairman Rep. John Kline, 

R-Minn., cited a Carolina Journal Online story published Dec. 19 reporting 
that Perdue, in a speech, publicly discussed information from the state’s
monthly employment report before its scheduled release.

The letter also stated that emails between the state’s Employment Security

Commission (now the Division of Employment Security) and Perdue’s office 
showed information was shared that may not have been authorized by the 
cooperative agreement between the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and 
each state that is meant to protect the unauthorized release of protected 
employment data.

A CJ Online story published Monday reported BLS had concluded that 

Perdue’s August remarks before the Rotary Club of Asheville violated the 
cooperative agreement with BLS. At the time, state ESC Labor Market
Information Division director Betty McGrath reported the violation to the
BLS regional office in Atlanta, and BLS Regional Director Janet Rankin
followed up with interviews of ESC officials. Rankin would not say if any
further action was taken.

The committee gave Perdue until Wednesday to produce copies of the

state’s cooperative agreement with BLS; CJ requested that and other
related information last week and was told the request was being 
reviewed by DES lawyers.

In addition, Kline’s letter asks the governor to produce a series of 

documents and communications, including those:

• “related to the protocols your office and [the N.C. Employment 

Security Commission] have put in place to protect against the 
unauthorized dissemination” of employment data;

• “relating to the potential unauthorized released of BLS data;”

• between the governor’s office and ESC relating to unemployment 

data, and;

• between ESC and the U.S. Department of Labor related to 

  unemployment data.

Read the letter here (PDF download).

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, a Republican who represents North Carolina’s

5th Congressional District, is a member of the committee.

Attempts to get comment from the committee, Foxx, and Perdue 

have not been successful.

Rick Henderson is managing editor of Carolina Journal. Executive 

Editor Don Carrington also contributed reporting for this story.
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