DOJ Officials Suggested Sharing Census Responses With Law Enforcement

Justice Department officials have looked for ways to sidestep the confidentiality of census responses, according to court documents obtained by The Washington Post. After Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) reportedly asked the DOJ whether it agreed with a 2010 Justice Department memo stating the post-9/11 Patriot Act “could not override the confidentiality of the Census,” officials discussed amongst themselves how to answer. A June 12, 2017 email between DOJ attorney Ben Aguinaga and Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore reportedly suggested not saying “too much” about the census’ confidentiality in case the issue were to “come up later for renewed debate.” This comes as the Trump administration is fighting legal battles to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census. The Census Act reportedly states that Census data cannot be shared by the Commerce Department “with any other government agency or court.”