Just as the official U.S. Census was starting up in March, the Republican National Committee (RNC) sent out deceptive fundraising mailers bearing the words "Census Document." Congress quickly passed a law banning such misleading mailers, but the RNC is persisting in the practice. The RNC's latest fundraising mailer, dated April 12, is labeled "2010 Congressional District Census." On the outside of the mailer it says in all caps, "DO NOT DESTROY/OFFICIAL DOCUMENT." Inside, a line in smaller print says, "This is not a U.S. government document." The new law requires such mailers to include the sender's name and address on the outside of the envelope, but the RNC mailer fails to do this. The questionnaire inside asks recipients for their political views and seeks donations of up to $500. The accompanying letter from RNC Chairman Michael Steele says, "Strengthening our Party for the 2010 elections is going to take a massive grassroots effort all across America. That is why I have authorized a Census to be conducted of every Congressional District in the country." Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, who co-sponsored the law banning such mailers, lashed out at the RNC over its continuing practice of sending out fundraising mailers that claim to be "census documents." "They're trying to be deceptive, and it outrages me," Chaffetz said.
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