The Census count must continue, and House Democrats investigate Postmaster General Louis DeJoy

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A group of residents went into the 401.22 Census tract in the Lehigh Acres neighborhood to urge residents to participate in the U.S. Census 2020 count. The neighborhood has a historically low turnout in the U.S. census. Photo credit: Andrew West, The News-Press, Fort Myers News-Press via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The Census count must continue as originally planned — for now — and will not be allowed to wind down early. That’s the order from a federal judge in Northern California. The Trump administration had fast-tracked this year’s count, telling the Census Bureau to finish by the end of September, which is one month earlier than planned.

“This has been the weirdest and longest and most winding road to try and get an accurate count of how many people live in our country,” says Jessica Levinson, professor at Loyola Law School.

She adds, “The administration is playing the long game. And the Census Bureau is so important because think about how much it matters, how much federal funding that states get, and how many members of Congress states get, and where those members of Congress are, where the district lines might be drawn. So the Trump administration knows that this is deeply important. And that’s why I think we see all of this legal wrangling — again last year about ‘should we add a citizenship question,’ this year about ‘we should lengthen, no shorten, no lengthen the deadline.’”

Meanwhile, House Democrats say they plan to launch an investigation into Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. This comes after several of his former employees told the Washington Post that DeJoy pressured them to donate to Republican candidates he liked — and then later reimbursed them through bonuses.

Levinson says if this is true, it would mean illegal campaign contributions.

“There are so many ways to get money to and around candidates that you just don’t actually see, if true, a scheme like this very often because there’s typically a paper trail, and again so many legal ways to try and achieve similar goals,” she says.

Credits

Guest:
Jessica Levinson - Professor, LMU's Loyola Law School in Los Angeles - @LevinsonJessica

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin, Nihar Patel