John Gore pulled a fast one on congress Tuesday. The acting head of the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department was a conspicuous no-show at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s hearing on the 2020 Census. Committee members were not amused with the ruse, though it was perhaps the best entertainment C-SPAN has provided in some time. Noting that most of his questions were actually intended “for the witness that did not come,” committee chair Trey Gowdy (R-SC) informed his fellow lawmakers he would subpoena Gore and “make [him] listen,” if necessary. A follow-up hearing is scheduled for May 18, and you best believe we’ll be watching. Why? Because John Gore is the guy who drafted the DOJ’s last-minute request to the Census Bureau for an additional untested citizenship question on the 2020 survey, something we and numerous civil rights organizations seriously oppose. According to the folks at DOJ, the citizenship question has been added to enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This defense is flimsy, at best, especially when you consider Gore made his career as a private attorney defending violations of the landmark civil rights law. In the end, all we’re asking for is officials who show up for civil rights, not to mention their hearings.

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