Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez grilled Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross at a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing Thursday, at which time she questioned his connection with Republican Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach:
“Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, mentioned by my colleague, was noted by The New York Times, as laboring long and hard in his career, notably in the areas of voter suppression and nativism,” Ocasio-Cortez began by saying.
“He stated last year that he encouraged President Trump to add a question about citizenship to the census during the early weeks of Trump’s presidency.
“Kobach said ‘I raised the issue with the president shortly after he was inaugurated” and ‘he was absolutely interested in this,’” Ocasio-Cortez went on.
“Shortly thereafter, in April of 2017, Steve Bannon asked you to speak to Mr. Kobach about his ‘ideas about including a citizenship question on the 2020 decennial census.’”
After questioning Ross about whether he had ever spoken with Kobach about the census question and receiving confirmation, Ocasio-Corte cut off the Commerce Secretary and went on, saying:
“Mr. Kobach later sent an emailed to you on July 14 writing that the lack of the citizenship question ‘leads to the problem that aliens who do not actually reside in the United States are still counted for congressional apportionment services,’” she said.
“Of course they do reside in the United States. They reside in my district. They’re my constituents,” she added.
“But he then wrote ‘it is essential that one simple question be added to the upcoming 2020 census.’
Ocasio-Cortez went on, driving her point home: “It’s all there in black and white, Kobach is clear about his reason for adding the citizenship question in his correspondence to you, and it has nothing to do with the DOJ, it has nothing to do with the voting rights act, it has to do with congressional apportionments to immigrants.”