WASHINGTON – The House Oversight and Reform Committee plans to proceed with a vote to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to turn over subpoenaed documents related to the addition of a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. Census, Chairman Elijah Cummings announced Friday.
“We gave Attorney General Barr and Secretary Ross every opportunity to produce the documents the Committee needs for our investigation, but rather than cooperate, they have decided that they would rather be held in contempt of Congress,” Cummings (D-Md.) said in a statement.
He added: “They produced none of the documents we asked for, they made no counter-offers regarding these documents, and they seem determined to continue the Trump Administration’s cover-up.”
Late Thursday evening, the Justice and Commerce departments notified the committee they would not be able to produce the documents by the requested deadline, which was midnight. The committee first requested the documents in early April.
Cummings had notified Barr and Ross on Monday that a contempt vote would be held the following week if the documents were not produced on time. Both Barr and Ross wrote Cummings to ask that the committee not follow through with the vote, which they described as “premature.”
Opponents of the citizenship question maintain it would discourage many Hispanics and undocumented residents from participating in the census. The issue is currently the subject a federal lawsuit.
The full House is expected to proceed with a vote on Tuesday to hold Barr and former White House Counsel Don McGahn in contempt of Congress for failing to provide documents related to Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation.