“Dysfunction” at Commerce Comes at a Huge Cost to Taxpayers

Ross’ Leadership Absent Amid Global Trade Crisis and Census Catastrophe

WASHINGTON — Today, POLITICO provided new insight into the chaos unfolding at the Commerce Department under Secretary Wilbur Ross’ management. Ross has been criticized from those inside the department for being asleep at the wheel when it comes to important departmental administration but thoroughly absorbed with trying to win the president’s approval by including adding a politically-motivated question to the census.

“Sec. Ross has been distracted by a political scheme to manipulate census data for months, instead of focusing on what his department can do to bolster businesses and the economy,” said Lizzy Price, Director of Restore Public Trust. “His failed efforts to add a citizenship question to the census wasted millions of taxpayer dollars and unnecessary court fees all while neglecting his department, leaving Commerce in disarray, rife with political infighting. He’s even been held under criminal contempt of Congress while taxpayers ultimately pay the price for his time spent schmoozing with the president. With Ross apparently absent from his duties, who is really running our Commerce Department?”  

For weeks, Sec. Ross has been at the center of the political drama swirling around adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Last week, the House voted to hold Ross in criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas to answer for his role in the conspiracy to disenfranchise minority communities. The president back-tracked several times on his decision to add it despite the Supreme Court’s blow to his administration the week prior and DOJ indicating it would print the census without the question. 

And this isn’t the first time questions have been raised about Ross’ ability to complete basic functions of the job. Earlier this year, his personal financial disclosures were rejected from the government ethics agency who certifies forms from government officials.

Ross also has an exceptionally poor track record sympathizing with average Americans. 

He has demonstrated a thorough disregard for struggling communities despite his public remarks and claims to support American jobs. Earlier this year, Ross proposed eliminating the Economic Development Administration, an agency specifically designed to stimulate economic growth in struggling areas. Ross’ proposal threatens 17,000 jobs across the country despite the program’s support from Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. 

At the start of the year, amid the 35-day government shutdown, Ross made it painfully clear he does not empathize with the average American taxpayer when he proposed furloughed federal workers take out loans to make up for their missed paychecks. 

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