Census Bureau director to resign amid criticism over data

Facing criticism that he was acceding to President Donald Trumps demand to produce citizenship information at the expense of data quality, US Census Bureau director Steven Dillingham said Monday that he planned to resign with the change in presidential administrations.

Dillingham said in a statement that he would resign on Wednesday, the day Trump leaves the White House and President-elect Joseph Biden takes office. Dillinghams term was supposed to be finished at the end of the year.

The Census Bureau directors departure comes as the statistical agency is crunching the numbers for the 2020 census, which will be used to determine how many congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state gets, as well as the distribution of USD 1.5 trillion in federal spending each year.


In his statement, Dillingham said he had been considering retiring earlier, but he had been persuaded at the time to stick around.

But I must do now what I think is best,” said Dillingham, 68. Let me make it clear that under other circumstances I would be honored to serve President-Elect Biden just as I served the past five presidents.” A Census Bureau spokesman said the agencys chief operating officer, Ron Jarmin, will assume the directors duties. Jarmin served in the same role before Dillingham became director two years ago.

Last week, Democratic lawmakers called on Dillingham to resign after a watchdog agency said he had set a deadline that pressured statisticians to produce a report on the number of people in the US illegally.

A report by the Office of Inspector General said bureau workers were under significant pressure from two Trump political appointees to figure out who is in the US illegally using federal and state administrative records, and Dillingham had set a Friday deadline for bureau statisticians to provide him a technical report on the effort.

One whistleblower told the Office of Inspector General that the work was statistically indefensible and others said they worried its release would tarnish the Census Bureaus reputation. After the release of the inspector generals report, Dillingham ordered a halt to the efforts to produce data showing the citizenship status of every US resident through administrative records.

In Mondays statement, Dillingham said whistleblower concerns stemmed from what appeared to be misunderstandings about how the data would be reviewed and posted.

There has been no suggestion to me that the work described above posed any potential violation of laws, rules, or regulations,” Dillingham said.

Leaders of several civil rights groups last week called for Dillinghams resignation, and several Democratic lawmakers followed suit.

Rather than ensure an accurate count, Dr Dillingham appears to have acceded repeatedly to the Trump Administrations brazen efforts to politicize the Census,” US Rep. Carolyn Maloney, chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, said last Friday.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)

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