Over a dozen Republican lawmakers, led by House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-KY), sent a letter on Friday to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, questioning whether there “was any political interference” in the final 2020 Census numbers used to determine each state’s representation in the U.S. House of Representatives for the next decade.

On Apr. 26, before sending his letter to Raimondo, Comer issued a statement concerning apportionment population count results of the 2020 Census’, expressing frustration over the Biden Administration’s decision to immediately rescind President Trump’s resolution not to include illegal immigrants in the count.

Comer also remarked that the 2020 Census results indicate many Americans are fleeing liberal states for states that allow freedom and individual liberty. He noted that Americans are exhausted from “high taxes, draconian lockdowns, and government intrusion in their daily lives,” and want the opportunity to make decisions for themselves and their families. Comer’s statement read:

“President Trump sought to strengthen Americans’ representation in Congress by not including illegal immigrants in the apportionment count, but President Biden decided to dilute American citizens’ representation by rescinding this commonsense measure. Many liberal states—especially those with sanctuary policies—probably would have lost more congressional seats if illegal immigrants had not been counted. But like packing the Supreme Court with activist judges and the U.S. Senate with two new progressive senators from D.C., Democrats wanted to pack the 2020 Census with illegal immigrants so they can maximize their political power. The Oversight and Reform Committee must conduct oversight of the 2020 Census with Census Bureau officials to ensure the integrity of the final results.”

In total, seventeen GOP Representatives from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform signed the letter to Raimondo. The lawmakers displayed shock over the White House involvement, particularly taking into account the fact that Democrats, including Chairwoman Maloney, previously accused President Trump and his administration of “scheming about how to rig the process for political gain.” Senior Census officials later disputed the claim.

Screenshot/House Committee on Oversight letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo

Final census numbers are crucial in determining how many congressional seats each state will receive for the next ten years. The GOP leaders point out that New York is now slated to lose one House seat, but in December was expected to lose two, noting the Empire State “was estimated to have a population of 19,336,776, but was attributed an apportionment population much greater than that of 20,215,751,” resulting in a variation of almost 900,000 census entries. The letter elaborates:

“Likewise, states such as New Jersey and Illinois experienced large population increases of hundreds of thousands of individuals compared to the December estimates, while states such as Arizona, Florida, and Texas experienced large decreases from the December estimates.”

Apportionment is the process of dividing the 435 memberships, or seats, in the U.S. House of Representatives among the 50 states. At the conclusion of each decennial census, the results are used to calculate the number of House memberships to which each state is entitled. This map shows the changes to the number of Congressional seats for each state between apportionment based on the 2010 Census and apportionment based on the 2020 Census.

Equally as significant, some estimates had Texas gaining three seats after the 2020 Census, but instead, it gained two. States such as Arizona and Florida experienced substantial decreases from the December estimates. Whatever the cause for the data shift, House Republicans want answers. Their letter explains that their staff contacted the Census Bureau on the morning of the report’s release with questions about the apportionment count, but Census officials directed them to the White House for answers. The letter clarifies the statute, which dictates:

It is the Secretary of Commerce who reports the apportionment count to the President, not the other way around. Referring our staff’s questions to the White House about the results produced by the Census Bureau is entirely inappropriate, and raises questions about the level of White House involvement in the process.

The GOP group is requesting a list of documents from Raimondo, including communications between the Census Bureau and the Biden White House, and whether the counting of illegal aliens in the congressional apportionment may have influenced the final result. They are also asking for all documents and communications containing any reference to or analysis of the differences between the Dec. 22, 2020 evaluation estimates and the actual apportionment results of the 2020 Census.

To conduct oversight over these critical issues, the GOP set a deadline of May 14, 2021, to receive the requested information from Raimondo.