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Top Census Official Discussed Citizenship Question With GOP Strategist, Lawyers Allege
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=48634"><span class="small">Tara Bahrampour, The Washington Post</span></a>   
Saturday, 15 June 2019 13:04

Bahrampour writes: "Documents discovered in the files of a deceased Republican redistricting strategist contain further information connecting him to the Trump administration's quest to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, say civil rights groups challenging the question."

A question added to the 2020 census asking about citizenship could cause many immigrants to not participate in the census. (photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)
A question added to the 2020 census asking about citizenship could cause many immigrants to not participate in the census. (photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)


Top Census Official Discussed Citizenship Question With GOP Strategist, Lawyers Allege

By Tara Bahrampour, The Washington Post

15 June 19

 

ocuments discovered in the files of a deceased Republican redistricting strategist contain further information connecting him to the Trump administration’s quest to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, say civil rights groups challenging the question.

Attorneys for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), and individual plaintiffs, filed material Friday to Maryland U.S. District Court Judge George J. Hazel indicating that Thomas Hofeller, who died in August, was in direct contact with a top census official regarding the question.

“These newly discovered documents … eliminate any colorable doubt about the link between Hofeller and government employees involved in the citizenship question approval process,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers wrote in a letter to Hazel.

The documents show that Christa Jones, now chief of staff to the director of the U.S. Census Bureau, communicated directly from her private email address with Hofeller about the citizenship question, alerting him to a Federal Register notice for comment on the bureau’s 2015 content test, which she suggested “could be an opportunity to mention citizenship as well,” the letter said.

“Ms. Jones’s direct private contact with Hofeller about the citizenship question refutes Defendants’ contention that no link between Hofeller and the Secretary can be shown,” the letter said.

In a statement, the Commerce Department said “neither Dr. Hofeller nor his views were part of [Secretary Wilbur’s] decision to reinstate the citizenship question on the 2020 Census, calling the narratives of the plaintiffs “conspiracy theories.”

The Justice Department declined to comment and referred to earlier statements.

Documents released last year in legal challenges to the question showed Jones participated in internal bureau discussions about the question and, in correspondence with the bureau’s then-acting director in February 2018, suggested people who might be called upon to publicly support the question.

The filing comes two weeks after material came to light linking Hofeller to the administration’s discussions over the question and suggesting he was the one who came up with the government’s stated rationale for adding it: to help enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Hoffeler had also done a study in 2015 that concluded a citizenship question on the census would result in a structural electoral advantage for Republicans and non-Hispanic whites.

Earlier this year, Hazel was one of three federal judges who ruled against the question, saying it violated the Administrative Procedure Act. But he did not find evidence to support charges of conspiracy and intent to discriminate.

The government appealed to the Supreme Court, which is expected to rule by the end of this month; during oral argument in April, the high court’s conservative justices seemed inclined to let the government add the question.

But after the Hofeller files came to light earlier this month, civil rights groups asked U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in New York to consider sanctions against the government, and asked the Supreme Court to delay its ruling.

In Maryland last week, plaintiffs’ lawyers asked Hazel to reconsider whether the government intended to discriminate against immigrants, Latinos and Asian Americans by adding the question, or whether adding the question was part of a conspiracy within the Trump administration to violate the constitutional rights of noncitizens and people of color. A hearing on the issue is scheduled Tuesday in Greenbelt.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new Hofeller material. But earlier this month it called the Hofeller-related claims “frivolous,” saying there was no evidence that administration officials were aware of the strategist’s study and accusing plaintiffs of trying to derail the Supreme Court decision.

Opponents of the question have argued it will suppress response to the survey among immigrant communities, resulting in an undercount in the areas where they live.

Evidence of Hoffler’s involvement was found accidentally by his estranged daughter, on hard drives belonging to him. Stephanie Hofeller Lizon then shared them with the organization Common Cause for a gerrymandering lawsuit it is pursuing in North Carolina.

As that organization continues to sift through material from the hard drives, it alerted plaintiffs’ lawyers Thursday to evidence of Jones’ involvement.

Kathay Feng, national redistricting director for Common Cause, said the Jones-Hofeller emails cast further doubt on the government’s claims.

“Why would she use her personal email? Why would she email a partisan operative about a topic that was not under consideration at the Census Bureau?” Feng said. “The new documents eliminate any doubt about the link between the Republican gerrymandering mastermind and the citizenship question.”

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0 # thehodges1 2019-06-15 22:53
So Sad
 
 
+2 # DongiC 2019-06-15 23:20
Republican chicanery never ceases to amaze and never ceases to end. They cannot keep their effing hands off the electoral process. Their desire to win is so strong that they never stop their infernal schemes to affect the outcome.
 
 
+2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-06-16 05:52
Republicans have been exploring all ways to suppress voter registration for 50 years. Before that, it was the southern democrats who perfected voter suppression. The best way out of this mess is for congress to pass legislation for automatic voter registration. When you turn 18, you are automatically registered to vote. The legislation would have to be signed after 2020 when there is a democrat in the white house.

Citizenship is a different question. In some cases, non-citizens can and should vote. They work jobs, they pay taxes, they participate in government. These are long term non-citizen residents. Some have green cards and some do not. They should vote.
 
 
0 # tidyidy 2019-06-16 08:36
Sunday morning, 6.16.19

I just watched, on C-Span Book Notes, a Republican congressman tell us he's reading Kimberly Strassel's The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Killing Free Speech. Searching for the author and title of that book, I found this one as well: The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech. I don't see this matter that way.

I see a civilization constructed by capable minds without regard for the basic instincts of our bodies. Our bodies are evolving at their own much slower pace. Most of us have a hard time controlling ourselves when confronted, as we are daily, with a myriad of problems over which we have little or no means of control. Our bodies understand courage and fear, love and hate, cold and hot, wet and dry. Our minds need to deal with $$$$$$$$$ and lots of it. Possession of it has become the major influence in our lives. The work of our bodies is devalued by them that's got the $$$$$$.

The lives of our relationships with other human beings is bent completely out of shape by $$$$.

I see that those who are bent on the capture and control of $$$$$$$, the conservatives, also want to return to less equitable times. They seem not to know that can't happen, that we can only go forward, that everyone must benefit from our culture and government in order to live in security and pleasantness.

Love&Blessing&Laughter