New documents suggest Wilbur Ross lied to Congress about origins of census citizenship question

Last March, Trump-picked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told the House Ways and Means Committee that it was the Justice Department that wanted a new citizenship question added to the United States Census. New documents released in a lawsuit now moving through the courts—a lawsuit that alleges the question was added with discriminatory intent—appear to demonstrate rather bluntly that Wilbur Ross was lying.

Ross had been pressuring the Justice Department to make the request, but records show Justice didn’t want anything to do with the question because they already had enough problems on their plate.

On September 8, 2017, Earl Comstock, a top official in the Commerce Department, wrote to Ross, “Justice staff did not want to raise the [citizenship] question given the difficulties Justice was encountering in the press at the time (the whole Comey matter).”

At this point we know the question was added due to requests from the White House itself, most notably head “strategist” Steve Bannon and the virulently anti-immigrant Kris Kobach, who at the time was acting as part of the Trump “Election Integrity Commission” tasked with finding the millions of supposedly illegal voters Donald Trump had publicly claimed had voted against him. The lawsuit against the action has already passed the first hurdles, with a federal judge rebuffing administration efforts to quash it with a ruling that the the interpretation of discriminatory intent and effect is indeed plausible.

Will Wilbur Ross face consequences for giving false testimony to Congress? Don’t hold your breath.


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