The Census Bureau is turning to a consultant who recently advised the failed congressional campaign of a race-baiting Youtube star to help carry out the 2020 Census.
In a notice released Tuesday, Bureau Director Steven Dillingham announced he has brought on two new political appointees, Nathaniel Cogley to be the deputy director for policy, and Adam Korzeniewski to be the senior advisor to Cogley.
Cogley's resume lists him as a professor at Tarleton State University in Texas, and cites numerous media hits talking about politics and President Trump's impeachment.
Korzeniewski, though, lists his previous work as a Republican consultant. His client in this election cycle was Joey Salads, the youtube personality who stages racially inflammatory video performances.
In one case, Salads parked a car festooned with Trump paraphernalia in what's allegedly a black neighborhood. It's not long before African-American men come along and trash the vehicle. But The Daily Beast reported that the men were actually actors, and the setup was caught on camera.
Korzeniewski consulted for Salads' failed bid to become the GOP nominee taking on Democratic Staten Island Rep. Max Rose.
The Census Bureau did not respond to a request for comment.
Census advocates and Democrats have already been alarmed at politicization of the decennial Census, which is used to draw political districts and distribute some $1.5 trillion in federal spending every year.
Many of their fears were confirmed when the Bureau tried to add a citizenship question that its own experts warned would suppress the count in minority neighborhoods. Courts later blocked the question, finding the Bureau's offered reason for it -- to better enforce voting rights -- was a ruse and that the attempt revealed "racial animus."
One Republican gerrymandering expert explained in papers discovered after his death that the question would advantage white Republicans. In effect, the count could be skewed so that white people had more power at the expense of minorities.
The Census has generally had three political appointees -- the director and the people in charge of communications and dealing with Congress. The addition of two more political appointees expressly to deal with the Census appears unprecedented. Policy positions have been left to career officials in the past.
Dillingham's statement suggested Cogley and Korzeniewski's jobs would indeed be policy-focused. They "will help the Census Bureau achieve a complete and accurate 2020 Census and study future improvements." he said.
"Recognizing that our data collections are becoming increasingly complex and rely upon new technologies, innovations and reforms, it is imperative that we consider public, private, and not-for-profit sector needs for relevant and quality data," Dillingham added. "The importance of more and better data for decision making will continue as the heart of the Census Bureau mission."
Neither Cogley nor Korzeniewski appear to have experience running anything resembling a Census or managing a multi-billion-dollar operation like it.
The Census is currently nearing the stage where it must get through to harder-to-reach minority communities.
New York Reps. Hakeem Jeffries and Carolyn Maloney warned Monday that New York City was well behind the curve in answering the survey, compared to the rest of the country. Maloney, the chairwoman of the Oversight Committee, was unable to say if other towns with large immigrant and minority populations were in a similar position.
Maloney also admitted that the Census Bureau has not been willing to hold regular briefings with her committee.
"We would like to verify they are doing everything right. We have not been able to do that," Maloney said.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that since the pair first arrived in April, they've met with a number of senior officials to discuss operations, and that "they have repeatedly questioned the need for census operations that focus on accurately counting the nation’s hardest-to-reach residents."