Ranking Member Jordan: Chairman Cummings’s Contempt Proceeding Violates Committee Rules

Full Committee on Oversight and Reform
Full Committee on Oversight and Reform
Published: Jun 11, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Committee, sent a letter to Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) condemning the Chairman’s violation of Committee rules in his rush to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress concerning the reinstitution of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

Chairman Cummings failed to distribute a memorandum detailing the agenda for the Committee’s business meeting at least three calendar days in advance, as required by Committee rules. The Chairman’s violation of the rules put the legal sufficiency of any contempt action at risk.

Excerpts from the letter:

“Under the Rule 2(f) of the Committee’s rules, you must provide “every member of the Committee . . . with a memorandum at least three calendar days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays . . . ) before each meeting or hearing.” The memorandum for the business meeting scheduled for Wednesday, June 12 should have been distributed no later than Friday, June 7. It was not. I am unaware of any “unusual circumstances” that would necessitate a business meeting without a timely memorandum. If you intend to proceed in considering the contempt resolution at the business meeting scheduled for June 12, you risk undermining the ability of the House of Representatives to enforce a finding of contempt.”
“The record before the Committee does not support contempt of Congress at this time. Both Attorney General Barr and Secretary Ross have cooperated-and continue to cooperate-with your investigation. In fact, the Committee has received over 30,000 pages of documents from the Administration. The Committee’s fact-finding is ongoing, and you have scheduled three transcribed interviews with witnesses in the upcoming weeks. If you were serious about getting to the facts on the Administration’s decision to reinstitute a citizenship question on the 2020 Census, you should attempt to obtain the information from other sources before rushing to contempt of Congress.”
Full text of the letter can be found here.