Benjamin Overholt Appointed To Census Bureau As 3rd Deputy Director The third political appointment at the bureau in less than two months comes amid growing concerns about the Trump administration interfering with the 2020 census to benefit Republicans.
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Amid Partisan Concerns, Another Trump Appointee Joins Census Bureau's Top Ranks

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Amid Partisan Concerns, Another Trump Appointee Joins Census Bureau's Top Ranks

Amid Partisan Concerns, Another Trump Appointee Joins Census Bureau's Top Ranks

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NOEL KING, HOST:

The Trump administration has made an addition to the top ranks of the Census Bureau. This is the third political appointee in less than two months. Some census watchers worry that the White House is trying to manipulate the 2020 count to benefit the Republican Party. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang covers the census.

HANSI LO WANG, BYLINE: With 43 days left to finish the constitutionally mandated count of every person living in the U.S., the Trump administration has been filling the Census Bureau with so many appointees...

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CAROLYN MALONEY: The committee will come to order.

WANG: ...It's hard even for Congress to keep track.

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MALONEY: I understand there are roughly five political appointees...

WANG: During a House Oversight Committee hearing about the census last month, Representative Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York, questioned the bureau's director Steven Dillingham.

STEVEN DILLINGHAM: Madam Chairwoman, I think, including myself, we have six now...

WANG: That number went up to seven this week with the addition of a third deputy director, Benjamin Overholt, a statistician who's worked in the voting section of the Justice Department. In late June, the administration made another surprise announcement and filled two new top-level posts at the Census Bureau - one with a political science professor who has specialized in African politics and another with a former consultant to a YouTube personality known for racist pranks.

ARNOLD JACKSON: It's a little late in the game to be installing senior-level officials.

WANG: Arnold Jackson is a former career civil servant at the Census Bureau who led the 2010 count.

JACKSON: The systems are in place. The hiring is underway. I mean, what things are you going to do?

WANG: In a statement, the Census Bureau said that the new third deputy director will help ensure that 2020 census data are, quote, "of the highest quality." But bureau employees NPR has talked to say they are not sure what exactly that means. Representative Maloney said in a statement that the latest appointment is part of a White House scheme to, quote, "rig the process for political gain." The White House press office did not respond on the record to NPR's request for comment. Hansi Lo Wang, NPR News, New York.

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