Common Cause Calls for Investigation of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ False Statements to Congress

Today, Common Cause called on the House Ways and Means Committee to immediately investigate false statements made under oath to the committee by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross concerning the addition of a citizenship question to the U.S. census survey. The recent release of Ross’ correspondence with Commerce Department staffers reveal that Ross falsely claimed to the Committee in March that it was a Department of Justice (DOJ) request that had prompted his Department add the citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

“Internal e-mails reveal that Secretary Ross deliberately misled the committee while under oath, falsely claiming that Justice Department officials had initiated the request to add the citizenship question to the census when he knew full well they had done no such thing,” said Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn. “Telling the truth under oath is a requirement – not an option – even for cabinet secretaries. Americans expect and deserve a fair an accurate census that counts everyone in our country. Congress must take steps not only to investigate Secretary Ross’ false statement but also to safeguard the integrity of the Census itself.”

As the letter points out, the Commerce Department e-mails reveal that Secretary Ross repeatedly requested cover from DOJ to add the citizenship question and persisted even after being told that the department was not interested in the information. Other correspondence reveals that Ross insisted on the addition of the citizenship question even after staff warned him that doing so would severely undermine the accuracy of the census and add additional costs to process totaling more than 25 million dollars.

To read the letter, click here.