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The daughter of the late GOP gerrymandering genius just uploaded all of her files to a Google Drive for everyone to read.
Thomas Hofeller, who died in 2018, played a crucial role in Republican Party redistricting efforts across the country: He mapped out tons of maps that the party used to make it easier for constituencies to win, sometimes at the expense of the right to vote. minority vote. In an effort to defend their state’s political map in a lawsuit, Republicans had attempted to keep Hofeller’s records secret.
But on Sunday, his daughter, Stephanie, who identifies as an anarchist, tweeted them. She had announced her intention to release the files last month and has now made them public on a website: thehofellerfiles.comwhich links to a Google Drive full of his emails and documents related to his gerrymandering work.
(Thomas pronounced the word “gerrymander” with a hard “G”, in honor of former U.S. Vice President Elbridge Gerry, who pioneered the practice in Massachusetts in 1812.)
“These are issues about people and their openness and their access to resources. This is therefore the property of the people”, Stéphanie says NPR. “I won’t be convinced that we the people have found it all until we the people have looked at it in its entirety.”
It’s not yet clear what new information the filings contain — many of Hofeller’s filings have already been made public through court documents and news reports. Another document previously released by Stephanie upset a Supreme Court battle surrounding the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the census.
The administration’s official explanation was that the question would be used to enforce the Voting Rights Act, but one of Hofeller’s unpublished studies from 2015 found that adding the question “would benefit Republicans and non-Hispanic whites.
READ: GOP strategist wanted 2020 census citizenship question to benefit white people
Based on this discrepancy in rationale, judges blocked the Trump administration from including the question, and the Census Bureau announced in August that it would not ask about citizenship status in 2020.
Stephanie had been estranged from her father for several years before his death – they had fought over custody of her children and had been tried in court. She only discovered he was dead by googling him on a whim six weeks after his death to find his obituary in the New York Times.
Needless to say, Stephanie still doesn’t think very highly of her dad.
About a week after learning of her father’s death, she went to his house to collect her belongings. She found a plastic bag full of hard drives and USB sticks, which contained a mixture of personal photos and files related to her political work.
She ended up giving the records to Common Cause, a nonprofit government watchdog that focuses on government accountability. The records were later used as evidence in a North Carolina case that Common Cause won in September, which claimed the state illegally drew its district to favor Republicans.
READ: ‘Howling siren’ went off at DOJ over Trump citizenship issue in 2020 census
Hofeller, for his part, is likely rolling over in his grave. He was discreet about his documents and knew very well that they could undermine his work.
“Emails are the tool of the devil,” reads one of the training slides in the treasury of files. “Treat every statement and document as if it were going to appear on the FRONT PAGE of your local newspaper.”
Cover Image: In this August 13, 2001, file image from video provided by C-SPAN, Tom Hofeller speaks at an event at the Republican National Committee in Washington. Hofeller, a mastermind of the GOP redistricting, preached the security of electronic records. But after his death in 2018, his own records became the focus of lawsuits over a US census question on citizenship and North Carolina’s legislative redistricting. (C-SPAN via access point)