The RNC’s fake-census mailings

THE RNC’S FAKE-CENSUS MAILINGS…. The Republican National Committee has been using fake-census materials as part of a sleazy fundraising campaign. The deceptive tactics were so repugnant, Congress felt the need to take action and place new restrictions on the tactic. And yet, the RNC keeps doing it anyway.

In March, the House voted unanimously to restrict fake-census mailings. A month ago today, the Senate approved the same measure, also without a single opponent.

“It is critical that people have confidence and trust in the census process and these mailings confuse people and jeopardize our efforts to have a full and accurate count,” Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate panel that oversees the census, said at the time. “Banning these despicable practices is an important part of that process.”

Except the ban apparently isn’t enough. The RNC keeps sending them. Zachary Roth had this report this morning:

An RNC mailer obtained by TPMmuckraker bears the words “Census Document” and, in all caps, “DO NOT DESTROY/OFFICIAL DOCUMENT,” on the outside of the envelope. In smaller letters, it says: “This is not a U.S. government document.” The new law requires, among other things, that such mailers state the name and address of the sender on the outside of the envelope — something the RNC’s missive doesn’t appear to do. Inside, a letter from RNC chair Michael Steele, dated April 12, asks recipients to fill out a questionnaire about their political views, and solicits donations of as much as $500 or more. […]

After her office was forwarded a copy of the mailer, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who sponsored the bill passed last month, noted that the mailer “does not appear to meet” the requirements of the new law — and slammed the RNC.

“What is with these guys?,” she said.

If I only had a nickel for every time I’ve asked myself that question.

By way of a defense, the RNC stated its belief that the new law “did not apply to our mailer.” When Roth asked an RNC spokesperson to elaborate, he declined.

Presumably, the U.S. Postal Service — not the Justice Department — will launch some kind of inquiry into this.

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Steve Benen

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.