Last week, results of the 2020 census were released to the public — and while the updated numbers had a wide range of political effects on a number of states, a new controversy is brewing that could upend it all.
According to the Daily Caller, a contingent of House Republicans, led by Rep. James Comer (R-KY), are calling into question the accuracy of the 2020 census, even going as far as raising questions about potential political interference in the process by President Joe Biden’s administration.
What’s going on?
Comer, a ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, penned a joint letter with 16 Republican colleagues in the lower chamber addressed to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.
The Republicans who signed the letter, including high-profile lawmakers such as Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ) and Rep. Jody Hice (GA), sought to clarify whether the U.S. Census Bureau was free from political interference from the Biden administration as the final numbers were calculated.
“We write today with concerns about the apportionment count released by the Census Bureau, and whether the process which derived the count was fair, accurate, and independent from any White House interference,” the joint letter read.
🚨BREAKING🚨@RepJamesComer & Committee Republicans wrote U.S. Commerce @SecRaimondo about the Biden Administration’s questionable treatment of and possible political interference in the 2020 census. Results are strikingly different than population estimates released in Dec. pic.twitter.com/ZWpe73EC6v
— Oversight Committee Republicans (@GOPoversight) April 30, 2021
Given the highly impactful political consequences of any new census, which determines the number of representatives a state has as well as how districts are redrawn, it’s clear that Biggs and others who signed off on the letter want to be 100% sure everything related to the 2020 count was done fair and square.
The numbers gap
One of the primary concerns with the updated census numbers, according to the group of concerned Republicans, was that it was noticeably different than predictions from a December report.
“Furthermore, the apportionment population results released by the Census Bureau are strikingly different from the population evaluation estimates released just months ago on December 22, 2020,” the letter read.
Adding to the mystery, Republicans pointed out that the difference in numbers, compared to the December report, seemed to clearly benefit blue states that reported an increase in population in contrast to the red states that saw a decline.
Some of the GOP House members involved with the letter said that their staff members contacted the U.S. Census Bureau directly to clarify some of the data; however, they were reportedly referred to the White House for further comment, which unnecessarily raises even more questions.
Given the high stakes of next year’s midterm elections and the potential massive shift in power — in the sense that Democrats are poised to lose majority control of at least one chamber of Congress — it’s not surprising that Republicans are ruling out the possibility of any funny business.