STEELE ADDS TO THE CONSPIRACY THEORY…. In February, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) explained her belief that President Obama is orchestrating a conspiracy involving the Census Bureau. As she sees it, the White House will use the 2010 census to redraw congressional lines to keep Democrats in power.

For those concerned with the facts, there were quite a few problems with Bachmann’s assertion, including the fact that states redraw district lines, not the president. But for Republicans, there was a different problem — she forgot to include ACORN in the conspiracy.

Michael Steele is now raising money for the RNC using a familiar set of GOP memes: That Barack Obama and ACORN — one of the great right-wing bogeymen of 2008, you might recall — plan to rig the 2010 Census in order to solidify Democratic control in 2012.

In fact, the letter to Republican donors insists that the administration directed “millions in political payback” to ACORN in the stimulus bill. (The talking point was debunked in February, but GOP leaders keep repeating it.) The solicitation goes on to accuse the administration of planning to “rig the Census results,” with ACORN “manipulating population numbers.” But if you write a check right now, the Republican National Committee will be able to “spread the word about the Obama Democrats’ misuse of power and plans to end free and fair elections.”

Michael Steele is already committed to going “beyond cutting edge.” Apparently, he also wants to go “beyond reality.”

Update: ACORN reminds Steele, “It’s not nice to tell lies. It’s not nice to distort the facts.”

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.