Court Battles

Late GOP strategist’s daughter releases documents disputed in census lawsuit

The daughter of a late GOP strategist has begun releasing documents belonging to her father that were involved in the lawsuit over the White House’s push to add a citizenship question to the U.S. census.

Stephanie Hofeller, the daughter of redistricting strategist Thomas Hofeller, started uploading the documents Sunday onto a website titled The Hofeller Files. These documents have been cited as evidence of Thomas Hofeller’s role in the efforts to include the question and have been used to question the administration’s motives behind the citizenship question.

Stephanie Hofeller, who was estranged from her father, obtained the computer documents after his death in 2018, NPR reported. After receiving a court order, she provided them to Common Cause, the advocacy group that sued Republican state officials in an effort to change state district maps that her father drew but not without first copying the documents. 

“These are matters that concern the people and their franchise and their access to resources. This is, therefore, the property of the people,” Stephanie Hofeller told NPR. “I won’t be satisfied that we the people have found everything until we the people have had a look at it in its entirety.”

Stephanie Hofeller, who identifies as an anarchist, told NPR that her father’s stated goal was to “create a system wherein the Republican nominee would win.” The documents suggest her father completed a study in 2015 that determined adding the citizenship question to the census would benefit Republican and white populations and damage Democratic and Latino populations.

But Thomas Hofeller’s business partner Dale Oldham retrieved a laptop and a desktop of work files before she could get to them after her father’s death, she said. 

She announced her plans to release the documents she had in a tweet a month ago.

Republican state lawmakers in North Carolina and Thomas Hofeller’s former company Geographic Strategies have attempted to prevent the documents from being published, but some have already come to light through court filings and media reports, according to NPR. 

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the documents explaining the study to the Supreme Court in May, saying it disproved the Trump administration’s stated intention to enforce the Voting Rights Act. The Department of Justice submitted a court filing in June saying the redistricting study did not play a role in the decision to push for the question.

The Supreme Court ultimately rejected the question, saying the administration did not give enough reason for wanting to include the question.

The Hofeller Files have already been used as evidence of gerrymandering, resulting in political maps for North Carolina being rejected by a state court.

Tags 2020 census; Census Bureau; citizenship question Donald Trump Gerrymandering

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