On Wednesday, the House Oversight Committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for their refusal to cooperate with the investigation into how the Trump administration is rigging the 2020 Census against Democrats and people of color.
In a statement prior to the vote, a spokesperson for House Oversight chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said that the Justice Department and the Commerce Department “have made no commitment or counter-offer regarding any of the critical documents in our subpoenas.”
The Trump administration invoked executive privilege over the Census documents ahead of the vote.
Trump officials have caused national outrage by attempting to add a question to the Census interrogating people about citizenship status. Former Census Bureau officials have broadly warned such a move will prevent people from responding, leading to millions of people being undercounted and Democratic and minority areas of the country losing representation and federal funding.
The Oversight Committee’s investigation seeks to determine why and how this change to the Census was approved. Ross previously testified the DOJ asked him to include the citizenship question to facilitate the Voting Rights Act. But documents obtained from the hard drives of Thomas Hofeller, an operative who helped the GOP rig congressional and legislative districts across the country, reveal officials intended that the change “would be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites.”
The Supreme Court is scheduled to decide whether the administration can include the citizenship question in coming weeks.