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Schwartz writes: "President Donald Trump has exerted executive privilege over a trove of documents requested by House Democrats detailing how and when his administration sought to add a question about citizenship to the upcoming 2020 Census."

Census form. (photo: Rebecca Lomax/American Libraries)
Census form. (photo: Rebecca Lomax/American Libraries)


Trump Moves to Cover Up the Details of His Racist Census Plan

By Rafi Schwartz, Splinter

12 June 19

 

resident Donald Trump has exerted executive privilege over a trove of documents requested by House Democrats detailing how and when his administration sought to add a question about citizenship to the upcoming 2020 Census.

The president’s move to deny lawmakers access to the material comes the same day as the House Oversight Committee is set to vote on holding Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to comply with a congressional subpoena to turn over the documents.

“These documents are protected from disclosure by the deliberative process, attorney-client communications, or attorney work product components of executive privilege,” Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said in a Tuesday evening letter to House Oversight Committee chairman Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings.

“Regrettably, you have made these assertions necessary by your insistence upon scheduling a premature contempt vote,” Boyd added, claiming the committee “has failed to abide by the constitutionally mandated accommodation process” during its negotiations with the administration over the material.

The question of citizenship has not been a part of the Census for more than six decades, and has raised alarms from lawmakers and civil rights groups worried that its inclusion will disenfranchise people of color as part of a larger GOP effort to manipulate voting districts in their favor, rather than provide an accurate picture of the American population.

As part of a federal lawsuit against the citizenship question’s inclusion, lawyers for the ACLU provided documents from the late former Republican National Committee redistricting chairman-turned gerrymandering consultant Dr. Thomas Hofeller, which showed the clearest look to date at the GOP’s racist effort to use the Census to skew elections to their advantage.

“Without a question on citizenship being included on the 2020 Decennial Census questionnaire,” Hofeller wrote in the file obtained by the ACLU, “the use of citizen voting age population is functionally unworkable.”

And, he concluded, that the effect of a citizenship question on reworking election district maps would be “advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites.”

Subsequently, parts of Hofeller’s documents were reportedly included “word-for-word” in a Department of Justice letter to the Census Bureau over including a citizenship question the census.

Responding to the president’s assertion of executive privilege on Wednesday, Cummings stated the obvious: “It appears to be another example of the administration’s blanket defiance of Congress’s constitutionally mandated responsibilities,” he continued.

The president’s decision comes one day after the House voted to allow committees to pursue enforcement of unfulfilled subpoenas in federal court.

Following Tuesday’s vote, Cummings blasted the administration as engaging in “one of the most unprecedented cover-ups since Watergate,” adding that “it is not just about Russia. This cover-up spans across numerous investigations.”

Nevertheless, Cummings has said he will postpone Wednesday’s contempt vote to allow committee members to review the president’s privilege assertion.

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+6 # BetaTheta 2019-06-12 22:44
Funny, Trump has recently been declaring his administration "the most transparent in history."
 
 
-2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-06-13 06:38
The census should not be conflated with corrupt political maneuvering or the corrupt ambition of ICE to punish immigrants. For the census to be truly comprehensive, it should be as neutral as possible. It used to be that census data was not available to anyone other than the census board itself. It used simple numbers to redistrict and re-allocate congressional districts.

20 years ago, the categories for race were greatly expanded. Race was not a question before that. Do we really want to know the racial and ethnic composition of the US. I think we do. We want it to be accurate.

I'm of mixed mind on the citizenship question. I think we should know how many people are citizens or non-citizens and where they live. But the census should NEVER be used for law enforcement. If there's a chance it will be, then don't ask the question.

A big problem not being addressed is the electronic collection of information. This will exacerbate the digital divide. Those "on-line" will be over counted and those without digital technology will be undercounted. This correlates with the wealth/poverty divide.
 
 
+4 # MikeAF48 2019-06-13 08:05
Census 2020 this question will be ruled on by the Supreme Court if approved-ruled for the exception it will be another step towards dictatorship. Lets vote this out or impeach him.
 
 
0 # DongiC 2019-06-14 08:16
The right and honorable thing to do is impeach Trump now. Political expediency should be a secondary consideration. Protect the Constitution first, the political party system second. I think the honest policy will turn out to be the most practical one as the voters choose the Constitution over the snake-oil salesman currently residing in the White House.
 

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