House Republicans question whether White House interfered in 2020 Census data

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After the U.S. Census results this week did not come out as many experts predicted, a handful of Republicans are now questioning whether foul play was involved.

Several House Republicans sent a letter Friday to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo questioning the integrity of the latest federal census and asking whether the Biden Administration interfered.

Ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., led the effort along with more than a dozen other Republicans. The group sent a letter asking whether the U.S. Census results released Monday were “independent from any White House interference.”

“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 letter reads. “Given the extra time it took to complete the 2020 Census – including not meeting the statutory deadlines by months – we have questions about the methodology and the role the Biden White House may have played in releasing these numbers, especially as the results differ from evaluation estimates released mere months ago in ways that benefit blue states over red states.”

The U.S. Census Bureau has defended the delay in presenting its findings, citing complications with COVID-19

“Due to circumstances out of our control, including COVID-19 and numerous severe weather events, we delayed our 2020 Census data collection efforts,” the bureau said.

The latest population count raised eyebrows when the final totals in multiple states were far different from the estimates provided just months prior by the U.S. Census Bureau. For instance, some experts predicted that Texas would gain three seats, but it only added two.

“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 reads.

The Republicans allege there is a connection between which states population totals changed and those states political leanings.

“Remarkably, the differences benefit traditionally blue states – which gained population compared to the estimates – over red states which tended to lose population compared to the estimates,” the letter says. “For example, New York was estimated to have a population of 19,336,776, but was attributed an apportionment population much greater than that of 20,215,751, a difference of nearly 900,000 individuals. Likewise, states such as New Jersey and Illinois experienced large population increases of hundreds of thousands of individuals compared to the December estimates, while states such as Arizona, Florida, and Texas experienced large decreases from the December estimates.

“This trend calls into question whether there was any political interference with the apportionment results released by the Census Bureau,” the letter adds.

The Census Bureau told Fox News that differences between the estimates and the final census numbers are “typically interpreted as error in the estimates and are used to inform research and methodological improvements over the decade.”

The U.S. Census population totals determine, among other things, how many seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are apportioned to each state. These high political stakes have raised the scrutiny of this year’s results.

According to Monday’s population tallies, California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia will lose one seat. Texas will add two seats while Florida, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon gain one seat.

Notably, New York was only 89 residents away from maintaining its lost House seat.

The Oversight Committee requested a wide range of documentation and communication regarding the latest data, alleging it may reveal coordination with the White House.

How the Census Bureau or the White House will respond remains to be seen.

“When our staff contacted the Census Bureau on the morning of the release with questions about the apportionment count, they were referred by Census officials to the White House for questions,” the letter reads. “Referring our staff’s questions to the White House about the results produced by the Census Bureau is entirely inappropriate, and raises questions about the level of White House involvement in the process.”

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