Audit finds Trump Cabinet official misled Congress over census citizenship question

Then-Secretary Wilbur Ross “misrepresented” his causes for why he needed so as to add a citizenship question to final yr’s full census, in line with an inspector common’s investigation that discovered he misled Congress in testimony on two events.

However Mr. Ross, who served as head of the Commerce Division below President Trump, is not going to be charged after the Biden Justice Division declined prosecution.

Mr. Ross oversaw the 2020 census and ordered the late addition of a question probing citizenship standing — one thing that was additionally a high political purpose of the White Home.

He advised lawmakers he added the question on the behest of the Justice Division, which did certainly request the data be gathered for enforcement of voting rights legal guidelines. However the Commerce Division’s inspector common mentioned Mr. Ross was already considering the question properly earlier than the Justice Division’s request.

However the inspector common didn’t substantiate allegations that Mr. Ross was following a blueprint laid out by a now-deceased GOP political guide who’d advised the citizenship question could possibly be used to curtail the political energy of racial and ethnic minorities.

Investigators mentioned they did discover the guide’s “verbiage” was echoed in communications between the Commerce and Justice departments, however it handled historic information, not plans for future motion.

The inspector common’s letter to Congress doesn’t say why prosecutors within the Biden administration declined to pursue a case.

Mr. Ross had beforehand acknowledged he had been pondering a citizenship question since his early days within the division, however had mentioned the set off for including the question was the request from the Justice Division.

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, chair of the Home Oversight Committee, mentioned the brand new report undercuts his explanations.

“It’s appalling that the Trump administration subjected an endeavor as necessary because the decennial census to brazen political manipulation,” the New York Democrat mentioned.

She mentioned her committee’s investigation continues to be ongoing.

The citizenship question was not added to the complete 2020 census after a divided Supreme Courtroom rejected the administration’s reasoning as too hasty.

The justices mentioned the question itself isn’t unlawful — it has been requested on full censuses earlier than and continues to be requested in smaller census surveys — however the majority of the court docket dominated that the Trump administration moved too shortly.

Immigrant-rights and voting-rights advocates had sued to dam the question, saying it will scare some folks, together with unlawful immigrants, from answering the census, skewing the outcomes.

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