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Wilbur Ross Lied to Congress About Census Data According to New Documents

Wilbur Ross Lied to Congress About Census Data According to New Documents

Photo Credit: CNN / Screengrab


CNN’s ‘Reality Check’ aired a segment this morning that clearly shows the Trump administration lied when they said a controversial census question was requested by the DOJ.

When Wilbur Ross was asked why the Trump administration tried to twist the U.S. census for its own redistricting purposes, he said it was a request initiated by the Department of Justice.

Ross told the House Ways and Means Committee that the Justice Department “initiated the request for inclusion of the citizenship question.” Speaking in front of a House Appropriations subcommittee he said that the Commerce Department was “responding solely to the Department of Justice’s request” and that the Justice Department was “the one who made the request.”

Reality Check host John Avlon was quick to show the “new evidence” that clearly shows Ross’ lie.

“Newly revealed documents show that Wilbur Ross was trying to pull that off. When the Trump administration proposed adding a question about citizenship, the controversy was as swift as it was predictable,” he said.

“They are supposed to count everybody that lives in our country, regardless of their status, and critics say the goal was to undercount non-citizens. They have a clear record of taking hardline positions against undocumented residents and their children. Not so, said Team Trump. They said it was being added back to the Census for the first time since 1950 because the Justice Department needed it to help the Voting Rights Act.”

Ross continues:

“But now we know that the Justice Department not only didn’t initiate the request, it didn’t want the citizenship question at all. Quote, “Justice staff did not want to raise the citizen question given the difficulties they were encountering with difficulties with the press over whole Comey affair.”

Avalon then brought up voter-suppression advocated Kris Kobach, who is currently running for governor of Kansas. In an email obtained alongside the other documents, Kobach proclaimed: “Without the citizenship questions, aliens are still counted for representation in Congress.”

“Remember, this is how the census is supposed to work,” Avlon rightfully explains.

“The citizenship question was supposed to benefit Republicans while depriving more populous Democratic districts of millions in federal funding for constituents, but Ross needed a cover story.”

Here’s the full segment:

John Abowd, the Census Bureau’s associate director for research and methodology and its chief scientist was asked specifically about the census question and here is his recorded response shared by Talking Points Memo.


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A lawsuit challenging the census question is scheduled to start in New York on Monday. You can read the full complaint below.

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