This is a crazy story, y’all. The Times:
Deceased G.O.P. Strategist’s Hard Drives Reveal New Details on the Census Citizenship Question
WASHINGTON — Thomas B. Hofeller achieved near-mythic status in the Republican Party as the Michelangelo of gerrymandering, the architect of partisan political maps that cemented the party’s dominance across the country.
But after he died last summer, his estranged daughter discovered hard drives in her father’s home that revealed something else: Mr. Hofeller had played a crucial role in the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
Files on those drives showed that he wrote a study in 2015 concluding that adding a citizenship question to the census would allow Republicans to draft even more extreme gerrymandered maps to stymie Democrats. And months after urging President Trump’s transition team to tack the question onto the census, he wrote the key portion of a draft Justice Department letter claiming the question was needed to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act — the rationale the administration later used to justify its decision.
Those documents, cited in a federal court filing Thursday by opponents seeking to block the citizenship question, have emerged only weeks before the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the legality of the citizenship question. Critics say adding the question would deter many immigrants from being counted and shift political power to Republican areas.
You can read the filing document from the plaintiffs in the case against the US Department of Commerce here. It reveals that Trump administration officials cribbed from Hofeller’s work and passed it off as their own in documents submitted to the court and lied about the expected effects of including the citizenship question:
[Mark] Neuman [Trump transition team member and close adviser to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross] testified that Mr. Hofeller told him that using citizenship data from the census to enforce the Voting Rights Act would increase Latino political representation — the opposite of what Mr. Hofeller’s study had concluded months earlier.
John Gore, assistant attorney general for civil rights and the DoJ’s chief overseer of voting rights issues, also lied under oath about the intended effects of the census question and the origin of the documents. Ross should obviously resign, and Neuman and Gore should be prosecuted for perjury. As for the citizenship question, it should be stricken from the 2020 census, and if it’s not, the House Democrats shouldn’t provide a cent of funding for it.
The thing that makes this case so nutso is that this evidence came to light by accident. After her father’s death, Hofeller’s daughter was going through his belongings and found a bag of thumb drives. While looking through them for family photos, etc., she found material he’d used to create gerrymandered maps. She gave those drives to Common Cause, saying they might be useful in that organization’s challenge to gerrymandered maps her father had created in North Carolina to give Republicans an advantage. The law firm representing Common Cause is also doing pro bono work on the census question case before the SCOTUS and saw the material pertinent to that case.
After the 2012 election, the Republican Party famously conducted an “autopsy.” The TL;DR version of its conclusion was this: Demographics are changing, so if you want to be competitive in future elections, stop being such rancid bigots. The party chose to double-down on racism, sexism and xenophobia instead, and this explosive revelation is only the latest indication that Republicans would rather lie, cheat, steal, and/or conspire with malignant foreign powers to win elections rather than stop being rancid bigots. That’s the inescapable conclusion.