Watchdog group requests perjury probes over census citizenship question testimony

Watchdog group requests perjury probes over census citizenship question testimony
© Greg Nash

A watchdog group on Thursday called for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to open a perjury investigation into agency official John Gore and former Commerce Department transition official Mark Neuman for allegedly lying about their efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

“The Trump administration’s cynical attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census to protect Republican legislative districts is a transparent abuse of power," Campaign for Accountability director Daniel Stevens said in a statement.

"Now it appears top government officials lied about the citizenship question under oath to prevent the public from finding out about their power grab. DOJ should immediately investigate whether Mr. Neuman and Mr. Gore perjured themselves in their deposition testimony.”

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The perjury allegations stem from Gore and Neuman's claims that Neuman did not help Gore draft a letter from the DOJ to Commerce requesting that a citizenship question be added to the census.

Campaign for Accountability claims that Neuman provided Gore with a prewritten version of the letter.

The group also pointed to the alleged involvement of late GOP operative Thomas Hofeller in adding the citizenship question.

The American Civil Liberties Union late last month dropped what appeared to a bombshell court filing alleging that Hofeller conducted a 2015 study that found asking about citizenship on the census would help Republicans and hurt Latinos and Democrats in redistricting.

The group, and Campaign for Accountability, claim that officials did not disclose Hofeller’s role in getting the question added to the census.

The DOJ earlier this month fired back, calling the claims that Hofeller was involved false and without merit.

The DOJ declined The Hill's request for comment, pointing to their previous statements.