01 April 2012

Little Known Act Delays 1940 Census Release?

A little known act of Congress from 1940 may delay the release of the 1940 census to the public. Nearly buried in the dustbin of history, a legal scholar made the discovery in the Congressional Record. Charles Eugene Queso noticed the act while researching restaurant legislation during the wartime era.

The Wartime Information Security Act of 1940 (WISA) was passed by Congress as it was becoming apparent the United States was possibly becoming involved what would later be called World War II. This act apparently superseded all other federal acts regarding information collected by any branch of the American government during the 1940-1945 period, including the 1940 census. WISA was repealed in 1945 but the repeal did not effect information collected during the 1940-1945 time period. WISA provided that any information on American citizens collected during this time period was not to be released without special Presidential directive. Certainly there will be more information later on this recent development.

More information on WISA can be found here.
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