By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers’ political maps, the ones he insists are so “fair,” got the seal of approval from a Princeton professor now under investigation for cooking the books for the benefit of Democrats.
According to Thursday’s Princeton Globe:
Princeton University has launched an internal investigation of Sam Wang, the controversial head of the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, after members of his staff alleged that he was manipulating data to match his personal agenda, and for mistreating people who worked for him.
As a result of the probe, Princeton University directed Wang not to speak directly with his staff during the time he was serving as an advisor to the court-appointed tiebreaker for the legislative redistricting commissions in New Jersey, according to multiple memorandums, letters and emails from the Princeton University Human Resources department obtained by the New Jersey Globe.
Wang apparently had nothing to do with the creation of Evers’ redistricting plans, but Wang’s Princeton Gerrymandering Project gave them glowing reviews, while blasting Republicans’ maps. Evers, his liberal allies and many members of the mainstream media have treated Wang’s analysis as a kind of gold standard in the political maps debate.
The Princeton Gerrymandering Project prides itself on “nonpartisan analysis to understand and eliminate partisan gerrymandering at a state-by-state level,” according to Princeton University’s website. But Wang’s alleged activities raise serious questions about the findings of the so-called “experts.” If the allegations are true, it’s the latest example of the people demanding you “follow the science,” while they are manipulating the science.
In October, Evers’ office fired off a press release slamming the Republicans’ maps, calling them “gerrymander 2.0.”
“All three maps prepared by Republicans in the Legislature have already received an “F” rating from the Princeton Gerrymandering Project citing ‘significant Republican advantage, advantages incumbents, and very uncompetitive relative to other maps that could have been drawn,” the press release stated.
Evers then bragged about the “A” ratings his left-leaning “People’s Maps Commission” received from Wang and the Gerrymandering Project.
According to the Princeton Globe:
In addition to complaints that Wang created a toxic work environment that included retaliatory acts and job threats, and a possible Title IX violation, three individuals directly connected to the Princeton Gerrymandering Project confirmed that the university is also investigating allegations of research misconduct against the neuroscience professor-turned-redistricting activist.
“He’d fudge the numbers to get his way,” one source told the publication, which is protecting the identity of the people involved. “He had an agenda. He was good at hiding it when he had to, but it was clear Sam wanted Democrats to win and he was willing to cheat to make that happen.”
Princeton Gerrymandering Project staffers raised considerable objections to a report Wang had written on New Jersey’s congressional redistricting that they said was biased. A senior legal strategist on Wang’s team, a graduate of a top law school who had clerked for two federal judges, worked through the night to rewrite sections that were tilted in favor of the Democratic map in a bid to seek the appearance of greater objectivity.
… In Pennsylvania, the Princeton Gerrymandering Project gave the new congressional map an overall grade of “C,” but under pressure from a major donor, Wang later changed the grade to “B,” an individual associated with the group told the New Jersey Globe.
Evers’ office did not return a request for comment.
The legislative political maps that Evers and team drew up — behind closed doors and without the help of the “people” — were ultimately rejected by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. They were rejected because the U.S. Supreme Court in a 7-2 decision found Evers’ racially gerrymandered redistricting plan violated the constitution’s equal protection guarantees and the Voting Rights Act.
Upon remand, the Wisconsin Supreme Court approved the Republican maps that Sam Wang’s Princeton Gerrymandering Project gave an “F.”