Committee Seeks Transcribed Interviews in Interior and Census Investigations

May 7, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (May 7, 2019)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent letters seeking transcribed interviews with eight current and former officials as part of two Committee investigations into the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census and the Secretary of the Interior’s compliance with federal record-keeping laws.  Previous requests for seven of these eight for interviews have been denied or have gone unanswered.

With respect to the Census investigation, Cummings and Rep. Jamie Raskin, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, seek interviews with the following officials from the Departments of Commerce and Justice:

  • Counselor to the Attorney General
  • General Counsel of the Department of Commerce
  • Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Policy at the Department of Commerce
  • Former Senior Advisor and Counsel to the Secretary of Commerce

With respect to the investigation into the Secretary of the Interior, the Committee is seeking interviews with the following Interior Department officials:

  • Administrative Assistant to the Deputy Secretary
  • Scheduling and Advance Director
  • Executive Assistant to the Office of the Deputy Secretary
  • Acting Chief of Staff and Associate Deputy Secretary

In today’s letters, the Committee warns that federal officials who continue blocking these interviews could risk having their salaries withheld pursuant to a provision in federal appropriations law.

“Please be advised that any official at the Department who ‘prohibits or prevents’ or ‘attempts or threatens to prohibit or prevent’ any officer or employee of the Federal Government from speaking with the Committee could have his or her salary withheld pursuant to section 713 of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act,” Cummings wrote. 

“The Government Accountability Office has reported to the Committee in the past when an agency official has violated this provision by preventing agency staff from being interviewed by Congress,  and a portion of that official’s salary was ordered to be returned to the federal government,” Cummings added.

Click here to read today’s letter to Gene Hamilton.

Click here to read today’s letter to Peter Davidson.

Click here to read today’s letter to Earl Comstock.

Click here to read today’s letter to James Uthmeier.

Click here to read today’s letter to Cole Rojewski.



116th Congress