House Democrats are threatening to block the salaries of some White House officials if they won’t allow workers to be interviewed.
The House Oversight Committee issued the warning Tuesday, targeting management in the Interior, Commerce and Justice Departments, the Washington Examiner reported.
Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, who is also the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, sought interviews with officials relating to a House investigation into why the 2020 census will include a question about American citizenship. (RELATED: Trump Defends Asking Citizenship Question On Census)
The letters warned that “any official at the Department who ‘prohibits or prevents’ or ‘attempts or threatens to prohibit or prevent’ any officer or employee of the Federal Government from speaking with the Committee could have his or her salary withheld” in accordance with the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act.
The committee accuses the department of denying or ignoring its previous requests to interview staff.
In his correspondence to Cole Rojewski, the Interior Department’s director of congressional and legislative affairs, Cummings suggests the department “does not appear to recognize that Congress is an independent and co-equal branch of government.” (RELATED: Elijah Cummings Puts Fox News In His Crosshairs. Jim Jordan And Mark Meadows Are Pushing Back)
The committee is expecting an answer by Friday.
The Commerce Department announced it would be including a citizenship question in the census as a means of reinforcing the Voting Rights Act. The department has been overruled by three federal judges and the Supreme Court is now deliberating on whether asking the question is constitutional.