A new stash of Commerce Department documents obtained by Congress has confirmed that the Trump administration pushed to add a citizenship question to the census to help Republicans win elections, a House committee report said yesterday. Via the New York Times:
The report from the Committee on Oversight and Reform, the culmination of a yearslong investigation, detailed new findings based on drafts of internal memos and secret email communications between political appointees at the Commerce Department, which oversees the Census Bureau, and counterparts in the Justice Department.
The documents provided the most definitive evidence yet that the Trump administration aimed to exclude noncitizens from the count to influence congressional apportionment that would benefit the Republican Party, the report concluded, and that senior officials used a false pretext to build a legal case for asking all residents of the United States whether they were American citizens.
Former Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had said in congressional testimony that the government decided to add the question because it required more accurate data on citizenship to enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But the Supreme Court in June 2019 ruled that the rationale “appears to have been contrived,” and a week later the Trump administration abandoned its quest to ask about citizenship in the 2020 census.
Still, a protracted fight between the House committee and former President Donald J. Trump over the release of a trove of documents that might shed light on the matter stretched to the end of his term. After Mr. Trump left office, the committee entered into an agreement with the Commerce and Justice Departments to obtain the previously withheld documents.
“For years, the Trump administration delayed and obstructed the oversight committee’s investigation into the true reason for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, even after the Supreme Court ruled the administration’s efforts were illegal,” said Representative Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, chairwoman of the committee.
Well, Democrats are now crafting a bill to prevent political interference from happening again.
Every 10 years, the federal government conducts a census to count all people in the country. Everyone is supposed to be counted without exception, whether they are adults or children, citizens or noncitizens.
The count is used to allocate funds to federal programs. It also has a significant impact on the nation’s politics because it is used to apportion representation in Congress, the Electoral College and within state legislatures.
Adding the citizenship question would have meant asking every member of every household in the country about their citizenship status.
We all knew this was happening. As usual, if the Trump administration did something, they were up to no good.