Maloney Letter to Commerce Secretary Don Evans on Press Reports that Bush Administration is Considering RNC Staffer for Census Director

Jan 22, 2001
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), ranking Democrat on the House Census subcommittee, released the following letter today to Commerce Secretary Don Evans on press reports that Tom Hofeller, the RNC's redistricting expert is being considered by the Bush administration for Census Director.

January 22, 2001Commerce Secretary Don Evans
Department of Commerce
14th Street & Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20230

Dear Secretary Evans,

First, I would like to offer my congratulations on your appointment as Commerce Secretary.

I am writing to you regarding an issue of immediate concern. As you recall from your Senate confirmation hearing, you were asked about the issue of keeping politics out of the Commerce Department. Indeed, in response to a question posed by Chairman McCain, you promised to respond with a written plan on how you intended to do just that within thirty days.

It is for this reason that I was particularly disturbed to hear that the Bush administration is actually considering appointing as Census Director, an individual who has played a very partisan political role in redistricting fights for more than 30 years, and currently serves as the Republican National Committee's redistricting expert. According to today's Congress Daily, Mr. Tom Hofeller has announced that he has submitted his name and that it is under active consideration and he would like to have the job.

The nomination of Mr. Hofeller, or any other individual with a mostly partisan, political resume, would be unprecedented and I will call upon the leadership of the House and Senate to vigorously oppose confirmation of a nominee without the requisite professional experience. For more than two centuries, the Census Bureau has been led by career scientists and academicians committed only to improving the science of data collection and reporting. It is ironic that while the Republican leaders in the House and Senate have worked during the last decade to ensure there is no political manipulation of Census data during the Clinton Administration, that the first act of the Bush Administration would be to turn the entire agency over to partisan campaign consultant.

Secretary Evans, as I am sure you would agree, a process designed to keep politics out of the Census and ensure census data most accurately reflect all the population of this country, especially Americas Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, American Indians and children who have been historically left out of the decennial count, should be the primary goal of the government.

The Department is obligated to ensure that the vital national statistics that are collected and reported by the Census Bureau are free from the suggestion that they have been prepared with a partisan slant. I strongly urge you to seek a nominee who meets the standard of independence from partisanship and has a career professional background recognized by the statistical community. It is essential that you maintain the confidence in every vital national statistic and do nothing to compromise the professional integrity behind our nation's economic, health, housing, and population data entrusted to the career demographers, statisticians, and researchers who serve at the Census Bureau.

I hope we can expect an immediate and public commitment from you to this important principle.



Member of Congress

cc. Rep. Dan Miller