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House Votes To Ban Deceptive Census Letters

March 11, 2010 - by Eric Naing

With the 2010 Census looming, many groups, including the Republican Party, have sent out fundraising mailings that are deceptively similar to the official Census form. Yesterday, the House unanimously voted to limit this practice.

Specifically, Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s [D, NY-14] Prevent Deceptive Census Look Alike Mailings Act (H.R.4621) requires anyone sending mail marked “census” to provide their name and address and to state that they are not affiliated with the government. In a rare showing of bipartisanship, two far-right lawmakers, Rep. Darrell Issa [R, CA-49] and Rep. Jason Chaffetz [R, UT-3] were also prominent sponsors of the bill.

Earlier this year, the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee were criticized for sending out fundraising letters marked “2010 CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT CENSUS” and “Official Document.” The letters, which imply but don’t directly claim an affiliation with the U.S. Census Bureau, are legal.

Ironically, the NRCC letter was written in the name of House Republican leader John Boehner [R, OH-8], who also voted in support of Maloney’s bill. Sen. Tom Carper [D, DE] promises to push the idea in the Senate.

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