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House Panel Sues Barr and Ross

Over census documents
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 26, 2019 5:43 PM CST
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In this Oct. 31, 2019, file photo, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, acting chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, joined at left by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, meet with reporters to discuss the next steps of the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump,...   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
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(Newser) – The House Oversight Committee sued two top Trump administration officials Tuesday for refusing to produce documents related to a decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, the AP reports. The panel’s chairwoman, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, said Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross “have not produced a single additional document” since the Supreme Court blocked the administration's efforts to include the citizenship question last June. The House later voted to hold Barr and Ross in contempt of Congress. The Justice and Commerce departments did not immediately comment on the lawsuit, although officials have previously said the documents Democrats are demanding are subject to executive privilege. Maloney, who was elected oversight chair last week, said the lawsuit follows the example set by the panel’s late chairman, Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings.

Cummings “believed with all his heart that the Constitution requires Congress to ensure that the rapidly approaching Census is conducted in a professional manner that promotes accuracy, ensures integrity and is free from partisan politics—and I couldn’t agree more,’’ Maloney said. Lawmakers need the documents being withheld by Justice and Commerce, in part, to determine whether Congress should take emergency action to protect the census from partisan political interference, Maloney said. The lawsuit marks the latest action by Democrats to use their House majority to aggressively investigate the inner workings of the Trump administration, including an impeachment inquiry of the president himself. Trump abandoned the citizenship question last summer after the Supreme Court said the administration's justification for the question "seems to have been contrived." Trump directed agencies to try to compile the information using existing databases.

(Read more 2020 census stories.)

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