Senate Should Hold off Confirming Evans. It Should Review his "Review" of Census 2000

Dec 20, 2000
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), ranking Democrat on the House Census subcommittee, issued the following statement upon the nomination by President-Elect Bush of his campaign Chairman Don Evans as Commerce Secretary.

"Given how important a fair and accurate Census is to all Americans, especially America's historically undercounted Black, Hispanic, Asian and American Indian populations, it is very disturbing that the new administration does not intend to make any decisions on the Census before they take office. According Bush spokesman Scott McClellan, "The president-elect does not assume office until Jan. 20 and we intend to review it and make decisions at that time" (Genaro Armas, A.P. 12/19/00)

"I call upon the Senate to postpone Mr. Evans confirmation, until he lets the American people know what his and the new administration's plans will be on this issue of critical importance to the integrity of our American democracy."

"After getting elected President because the votes of thousands of Black and Hispanic Florida's were not counted, it appears that President-elect Bush's administration, as was reported in Roll Call, is on track to make sure that millions of Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and American Indians are not counted in the Census nationwide.

"Bush aides have said that one of his first acts as President would be to block the Bureau's release of census findings that are reached through (modern statistical methods) sampling," (Mercurio, Roll Call, 12/7/00).

"President-Elect Bush spent his entire presidential campaign refusing to offer specifics when asked what he would do, if elected, regarding the 2000 Census results. Now that the votes have been cast, his aides are privately disclosing the President-elect's real intentions, saying that a high priority of his new administration will be overturning the decision of the professionals at the Census Bureau and blocking the use of the most accurate Census data available. This, while his nominee for Commerce Secretary won't say publicly what he will do on this issue until he takes office.

"The new administration apparently fails to understand that almost as important as deciding how best to count every American as accurately as possible is the choice of who will ultimately make that decision. If you asked the average American who should decide what the most accurate data from the Census is -- a scientist or a politician -- they would tell you it's a no brainier. The decision should be made by scientists, not politicians, and certainly not by the most political member of the Presidents new cabinet.

"Is there anyone who really believes that Mr. Evans will "study it" and in the end not overturn the decision of the professionals at the Census? I urge the supporters of a fair and accurate Census in the Senate to "study" Mr. Evans very carefully. And if he won't say up front what he will do then the Senate should withhold its approval."