Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Wants to Delay House Meeting on Census Citizenship Question

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Posted: Mar 06, 2019 11:40 AM
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Wants to Delay House Meeting on Census Citizenship Question

Source: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Despite Democrats wanting to have him appear March 14 to testify before the House Oversight Committee,  Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross plans to delay the meeting.

ABC news acquired a letter that was sent to the committee by the Commerce Department. Originally, Ross was only going to be questioned on his efforts to add a question of citizenship to the 2020 census.

"In the days following our receipt of that letter,” the department wrote. “It became clear that the Committee intended to expand the scope of the March 14 hearing to ask the Secretary questions about his personal finances and ethics obligations – topics that we did not anticipate nor expect to be covered in such detail and depth based on the frequent and cordial communications between our staffs."

In order to comply with the requests, the department has to provide the committee with various documents relevant to the investigation. The department said that they’ll need more time to have everything ready.

Members of Congress accused Ross of providing misleading financial disclosures and failing to divest assets. NPR wrote that one of Ross’s assets, stock put into Invesco Ltd., went up by seven figures before he divested it.

"I feel that essentially, he misled the committee, and a lot of my colleagues relied on those at best misleading, potentially outright deceptive" representations, said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) wrote to Inspector General Peggy Gustafson of the Department of Commerce in July 2018 and also requested that Ross be investigated.

“I write to request your independent review of the conclusion reached by the Commerce Department’s Designated Agency Ethics Official (DAEO) that errors Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross made in his efforts to comply with his Ethics Agreement did not result in a violation of conflict of interest law,” he wrote.

Ross still plans to attend the committee hearing, but no date has been announced yet.