Justice Department will not pursue criminal contempt charges in Census dispute with Congress

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Attorney General William Barr at the “2019 Prison Reform Summit” in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 1, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department will not pursue criminal charges against Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, after Democrats in the House of Representatives voted to hold them in contempt in a dispute over documents concerning whether to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

In a letter on Wednesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said that responses Barr and Ross made in response to congressional subpoenas over the Census issue “did not constitute a crime.”

“Accordingly, the department will not bring the congressional contempt citations before a grand jury or take any other action to prosecute the Attorney General or the Secretary,” he added.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Peter Cooney

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