79°F
weather icon Clear

House holds William Barr, Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt over Trump administration attempts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

The House approved the contempt resolution 230-198. The Nevada congressional delegation voted along party lines.

The criminal contempt charge is the result of Barr and Ross failing to comply with subpoenas from the House Oversight Committee, which was conducting an investigation into the administration’s efforts to include the question on the survey.

Ross mocked the House vote earlier on Fox Business News, saying the exercise was “silly” and amounted to “political theater” meant to embarrass the Trump administration.

But state and local officials had warned the question may lead to lower participation from immigrants, leading to an undercount that could have financial and social consequences from coast to coast.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak estimated that more than $675 billion in federal program funding for states is at stake in the census. Nevada received more than $62 billion in fiscal year 2016 based on the 2010 count.

And just last year, the state’s population, now at 3 million, grew by 2.1 percent, according to the Census Bureau.

The citizenship question has not appeared on census forms since the Truman administration. The count is designed to determine overall population, not citizenship status.

Lower response rate feared

Minority rights advocacy groups charged that he administration was using the question to suppress participation of immigrants. States and cities worried it would provide an inaccurate count that is used to determine federal formulas for spending for education, welfare, Medicare and Medicaid.

The Trump administration said the data was needed to enforce laws such as the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. And the Justice and Commerce departments both pushed back against the Oversight Committee investigation, claiming officials were working cooperatively in submitting information to the panel.

But last month the Supreme Court delivered a victory to the House and handed President Donald Trump a defeat when it ruled in a 5-4 decision that the government’s stated reasons for including the question on the census were contrived. It ruled, however, that the government could still ask the question if it supplied appropriate reasons for it.

As the census was being printed, Trump did an about face last week and announced from the White House that he was dropping efforts to include the citizenship question.

No choice

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., chairman of the oversight committee, said he had no other recourse than to come before the House with the criminal contempt charge because the administration has refused to comply with subpoenas for information.

“What we are doing again today is protecting the integrity of the House,” Cummings said.

Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., said “I’m glad that this disgraceful effort to silence communities of color failed.”

“The Trump administration got caught in a lie about their true intentions add the citizenship question to the census, and now they’re trying to cover it up,” Titus said. “The facts are on our side — and so is the Supreme Court.”

Rep. Mark Amodei, the lone Republican in the Nevada delegation, saw the vote as a partisan exercise.

Amodei was on the House Judiciary Committee when Republicans found then-Attorney General Eric Holder, during the Obama administration, in contempt over the “Fast and Furious” gun scandal.

“It was meaningless then,” Amodei said.

The extraordinary vote against the attorney general and the commerce secretary comes one day after the House voted to condemn the president’s “racist” language in attacks on four minority women lawmakers.

Next week, the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees will hear testimony from former special counsel Robert Mueller, whose investigative report could lead House Democrats to launch an impeachment inquiry.

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7390. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Olivia Diaz talks about her win in Ward 3 - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Councilwoman-elect Olivia Diaz talks about her election win in Ward 3 and what lies ahead for her.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop at Roy W. Martin middle school on Thursday, during his campaign trail.
THE LATEST
Justice Dept. says it sent anti-Semitic post to immigration judges

Assistant Press Secretary Kathryn Mattingly said the daily morning news briefings are compiled by a contractor and the blog post should not have been included.

Global economy focus for Trump, G-7 leaders at start of summit

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and other leaders of the world’s most industrialized nations will open their annual G-7 summit over the weekend by discussing the global economy.