New Hofeller Documents Show Senior Census Bureau Official Discussed Citizenship Question with Him in 2015

New Hofeller Documents Show Senior Census Bureau Official Discussed Citizenship Question with Him in 2015

New evidence filed in the District Court of Maryland in Kravitz v. Commerce, a challenge to the addition of the citizenship question to the census, brings to light documents that show contact between Dr. Thomas Hofeller, the Republican redistricting expert, and Christa Jones, a senior official at the Census Bureau. As stated in the filing, “these documents show that Christa Jones, now Chief of Staff to the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau, communicated directly with Hofeller from her private email address in 2015—earlier in the same year as Hofeller’s CVAP [Citizen Voting Age Population] study—concerning issues related to the citizenship question.” In his 2015 study, Hofeller showed how the use of CVAP data in redistricting would dilute Latino political representation, saying that such a scheme would benefit “Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.” The plaintiffs in Kravitz are asking the court to set aside its final judgment in favor of the government on their discrimination and conspiracy claims, brought under the Equal Protection Clause and 42 U.S.C. § 1985, respectively, and to instead enter judgment for the plaintiffs. At a minimum, alternatively, the plaintiffs are asking the court to re-open discovery on these claims, which allege that the Trump Administration added the citizenship question to the census with discriminatory intent, to allow the court to reconsider its ruling. A copy of the filing is attached. 

The plaintiffs in Kravitz v. Commerce are supported by the National Redistricting Foundation, a 501c3 affiliate of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. This new evidence was uncovered through discovery in the state-based partisan gerrymandering challenge to North Carolina’s state legislative districts, Common Cause v. Lewis -- a case that is also supported by the National Redistricting Foundation. The evidence uncovered in the Hofeller files has now led to filings made in the Southern District of New York over the Trump Administration’s motive for adding the citizenship question to the census and a recent filing in North Carolina that shows Republican legislators made false statements to a federal court in a racial gerrymandering case.  

On February 13, 2019, the plaintiffs in Common Cause v. Lewis issued a third-party subpoena to Stephanie Hofeller Lizon, the daughter of the late Dr. Thomas Hofeller, a Republican redistricting expert known as the “Michelangelo of the modern gerrymander.”  The subpoena requested, among other things, “[a]ll documents of, created by, or held by Thomas Hofeller . . . relating to or concerning the redistricting of the North Carolina State Senate and State House in 2011 or 2017….”  Ms. Lizon complied with the subpoena, turning over hundreds of thousands of documents stored on four external hard drives and 18 thumb drives.

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Patrick Rodenbush