The House Oversight Committee filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking execution of subpoenas it assigned to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Attorney General Bill Barr as part of the committee’s investigation into the census citizenship question.
The House beforehand voted to hold Ross and Barr in contempt for their resistance of the subpoenas, which request certain documents and communications from the failed effort to add the question.
Tuesday’s 84-page complaint said that, despite a Supreme Court decision that effectively blocked the administration from adding the question, the committee’s interest is in concluding whether “legislation may be necessary to amend the census process or to provide additional safeguards in light of Defendants’ conduct.”
The lawsuit went on to lay out several key facts — many of them contradicting the administration’s initial justifications for adding the question — that were uncovered in the legal challenges to the question and in the committee’s investigation into the effort so far. The administration, including in testimony to Congress, maintained that the question was required to produce data for Voting Rights Act enforcement. The Supreme Court earlier this year ruled that that justification was bogus.