Civil and Human Rights Coalition Calls for Well-Qualified Leadership of Census Bureau

WASHINGTON – Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement on the reports that President Trump intends to appoint Thomas L. Brunell to serve as deputy director of the U.S. Census Bureau:

“A fair and accurate census is among the most important civil rights issues of our day. It is also one of the largest, most complicated, and technical activities our government administers. As such, it requires leaders who have a demonstrated ability to manage such an undertaking and expertise in the collection, analysis, and use of statistical data.

A failed census would be bad for the entire country. The public must have confidence in the integrity and nonpartisan nature of the census. The census is not a partisan issue, and the president should not seek any partisan gain from the constitutionally required population count.

The Census Bureau must be led by highly qualified and experienced individuals who can provide the stability, expertise, and integrity the bureau needs during these final two years of preparation for a successful 2020 Census. The president should nominate a qualified, experienced, and nonpartisan candidate to run the bureau as director – one who will receive strong bipartisan support through the confirmation process.

With regard to the deputy director, historically and traditionally, that person has had significant civil service experience, strong management credentials overseeing a large organization and operation, and considerable expertise in the federal statistical system. Thomas Brunell is outside that mold. Coupled with the partisan nature of the body of his work, this appointment would undermine the credibility of the bureau’s role as a fundamentally nonpartisan statistical agency. Very little in Brunell’s background suggests that he is the right person for this job.”

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit