ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Saying they represented the latest effort by the Trump administration to politicize the 2020 census, House Democrats on Monday asked U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to withdraw two appointees from top positions at the U.S. Census Bureau.

Democrats on the Committee on Oversight and Reform said in a letter to Ross, whose department oversees the Census Bureau, that he should withdraw the appointments of Nathaniel Cogley and Adam Korzeniewski.

Cogley, a political science professor at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, who wrote a series of opinion pieces against the impeachment of President Donald Trump, was named a deputy director for policy. Korzeniewski, a former campaign consultant to the pro-Trump YouTube personality known as “Joey Salads,” was picked as a senior adviser to the deputy director for policy.

Their appointments have been criticized by a series of professional associations of demographers and statisticians, including most recently by the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics, which said last week that the appointments could damage the bureau’s mission to provide the public with accurate and nonpartisan information.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s inspector general asked the Census Bureau for information related to the hiring process involving the two men.

“The Trump Administration has failed to adequately set forth its motives for this action, identify the specific needs it is trying to address, explain why it needs more political appointees running the Census than previous Administrations, or justify why the American taxpayers should be forced to pay for these partisan appointees running what should be an ideologically neutral count of the people in our country,” House Democrats said in their letter Monday.

A Census Bureau spokesman on Monday referred an inquiry to the Department of Commerce, which did not immediately respond to an email.


Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP.