Dems question whether administration broke law with citizenship question on census

Dems question whether administration broke law with citizenship question on census
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Congressional Democrats are calling on the Trump administration to explain how adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census complies with a federal data collection law. 

Sens. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOvernight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Bipartisan senators unveil proposal to crack down on surprise medical bills Super PACs spend big in high-stakes midterms MORE (D-Del.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle Booker: It would be ‘irresponsible’ not to consider running for president Senate Democrats: Kavanaugh’s classmate must testify MORE (D-Calif.), along with Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsGraham to renew call for second special counsel Hillicon Valley: Sanders finds perfect target in Amazon | Cyberattacks are new fear 17 years after 9/11 | Firm outs alleged British Airways hackers | Trump to target election interference with sanctions | Apple creating portal for police data requests House Dems blast GOP for FBI, DOJ 'conspiracy theories' aimed to protect Trump MORE (D-Md.) and 31 other Democrats, sent a letter to Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Administrator Neomi Rao and Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossThe booming economy trumps Trump's trade battle with China On The Money: Senate approves 4B spending bill | China imposes new tariffs on billion in US goods | Ross downplays new tariffs: 'Nobody's going to actually notice' Ross: 'Nobody's going to actually notice' new tariffs on China MORE questioning whether the Paperwork Reduction Act was violated. 

The law requires federal agencies to evaluate the potential burden that collecting particular information will place on the public and obtain approval from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which oversees OIRA, before proceeding.

According to the OMB, information requested from 10 or more members of the public must be cleared by the agency.

“The PRA requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to review proposed information collections and ensure that agencies are minimizing the burden on the public,” the lawmakers wrote.

“It requires OMB to ensure that the information collection maximizes practical utility and public benefit and — critical in the case of the 2020 Census — protects the integrity, objectivity, impartiality, utility and confidentiality of collected statistical information.”

The Department of Commerce approved a request in March from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to add a question about citizenship status to the 2020 census. The DOJ says it needs the information to better enforce the Voting Rights Act.

But Democrats and civil rights groups fear the question will scare people in immigrant communities from responding to the census, skewing the numbers.

“Numerous experts, organizations, and local and state governments have voiced concern about the addition of a citizenship question and how it may harm the overall accuracy of the census,” the lawmakers wrote. “This includes six former Census Bureau directors, who have warned that ‘adding an untested question on citizenship status at this late point would put the accuracy of the enumeration and success of the census in all communities at grave risk.' ”

Democrats are demanding answers to eight questions, starting with when the Commerce Department plans to initiate the first public comment period by publishing a notice in the Federal Register, as required by the law.