CENSUS WORKER FOUND HANGED IN KENTUCKY…. It’s a deeply disturbing story no matter what the circumstances were, but let’s hope it’s not an example of anti-government violence.

A part-time Census Bureau field worker was found hanged in Kentucky Sept. 12 with the word “fed” scrawled across his chest, according to a law enforcement source. Bill Sparkman, 51 was found in a remote patch of the Daniel Boone National Forest in rural southeast Kentucky, the Associated Press first reported Wednesday night.

The FBI is assisting state and local police with their investigation, the law enforcement source told The Post’s Spencer S. Hsu. The law enforcement source was unsure of the cause of death.

It is a federal crime to attack a federal worker during or because of his federal job. Sparkman was an Eagle scout who moved to southeast Kentucky to be a local director for the Boy Scouts of America, his mother told the AP. He later became a substitute teacher in Laurel County and earned extra money as a Census field worker.

Commerce Department officials have extended their condolences to the Sparkman family, but have not commented on the still unknown motivations behind the hanging.

There are, obviously, far more questions than answers, and it’s best not to jump to any conclusions. The reporting, thus far, is based on unnamed law enforcement source, and some of what we’ve learned may be incorrect.

But as Alex Koppelman noted, if these early reports are accurate, they raise the prospect of what may have been a politically-motivated slaying: “There are always people who have some sort of paranoia about the federal government and the census, but things might be worse this time around. There’s been a lot of talk on the right about the connection (always very tenuous, and now severed) between the census and ACORN, a group that’s been conservatives’ favorite bogeyman of late. And Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., has been spreading her own fears about the census, at one point even suggesting a link between the census and Japanese internment during World War II — a frightening parallel for modern conspiracy theorists who fear that the government is setting up similar camps for them now.”

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.