06/26/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

RNC Still Sending Out Census-Mailers That Drew Ire Of Lawmakers

The Republican National Committee, which seems bent on alienating donors by the metric ton, continues to send out fundraising letters that are kitted out to look like official census forms, Zachary Roth reports for TPM. I tell you, there ought to be a law against this! Oh, wait! There is!

The legislation passed 416-0, after two Republicans who sit on the House panel overseeing the census, Rep. Darrell Issa of California and Jason Chaffetz of Utah, agreed to co-sponsor the measure. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., has said he intends to move forward with legislation in the Senate.

"With millions of census forms due to hit mailboxes within days and a multimillion advertising campaign meant to encourage completion and return of those forms, too many nongovernmental organizations are trying to piggyback on that brand awareness," said the bill's chief sponsor, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y.

And yet, as Roth notes, the RNC just doesn't seem to be paying this any heed.

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 donations of as much as $500 or more. (See the mailer here.)

By the way, my favorite part of the entire form is this part:

I mean, you do want to help defray the cost of this illegal mailer, right?

The RNC's Doug Heye, in response, told TPM, "We simply looked at the new law, saw that it did not apply to our mailer and continued with the mail pieces."

Some good news, however: the RNC managed to include the right phone number on this most recent census-mailer, and not the number of a phone-sex line. So, baby steps!

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