RNC Mailer Appears Designed To Look Like Census Survey

October 26, 2009 7:39 a.m.

Michele Bachmann may be raising outlandish fears about the Census — but Michael Steele’s operation seems to be more than happy to associate its political efforts with the national survey.

The Republican National Committee is sending a mailer to GOP voters that aims to gather information and raise money. Nothing wrong with that. But the mailer appears clearly designed to mislead recipients into thinking that it’s an official Census Bureau survey, which people are required by law to fill out.You can see the mailer here. It’s entitled, in bold, “2009 Congressional District Census.” (The words “commissioned by the Republican Party” appear just below that, in much smaller and lighter type.) Above the recipient’s address, it says: “Census Document Registered To.” And it even includes a “Census Tracking Code.”

The survey section includes questions about recipients’ political leanings (“Conservative Republican,” “Moderate Republican,” etc.) and where they get their news. It also asks: “How much does it concern you that the Democrats have total control of the federal government.”

One recipient told a Georgia news station that many of her neighbors might be duped into thinking the mailer was from the Census Bureau.

I could see a lot of my neighbors that are older who would get something like this in the mail and fill it out … all the information, every little section, and send in money.

The mailer tells recipients:

Strengthening our Party for the 2009-2010 elections will take a massive grassroots effort. As a key facet of our overall campaign strategy, the Republican Party is Conducting a Census of Congressional Districts all across America.

It’s unclear how widely the mailer has been sent — the RNC didn’t immediately respond to our request for comment.

A spokesman for the Census Bureau told the Georgia TV station that the mailer is not technically illegal.

But if nothing else, the GOP may want to re-check its lists. It sent the mailer to a local Democratic Party chair in Georgia — whose wife posted it on her blog.

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