We hoped that the GOP learned a thing or two after their robocalls backfired prior to the 2008 presidential election, but apparently no such lesson has been learned as they’re up to such shenanigans again in Pennsylvania. Taking the deception one step further, the GOP recently started mailing “fake” census forms to people in South Carolina to raise money for the party. Our calls to national GOP leaders and South Carolina GOP officials have not yet been returned since it is after business hours. We hope to quickly determine how widespread these mailings are and to whom they have been sent (only to registered party members or to the general public). The Anderson, South Carolina Independent Mail broke this most shocking story:
3rd District ‘Census’ form is actually GOP fundraiser
A fundraising letter sent by the Republic Party National Committee that appears to be an official U.S. Census form for the state’s 3rd Congressional District is not endorsed by U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett, a spokesman said.
The letter, and accompanying “census” form, also seeks donations for “strengthening our Party for the 2009-2010 elections.”
Emily Tyne, a spokesman for the congressman in Washington, D.C., referred questions to Barrett’s gubernatorial campaign spokesman.
“He wouldn’t have anything to do with that,” said Jim Dyke, a spokesman for the Barrett campaign.
“He would hope there wouldn’t be any confusion about this Republican Party fundraiser and the actual census,” Dyke said. “The census obviously is of great importance.”
The GOP “census” includes questions on a range of issues and appears to be an official document. On the envelope is the wording “Do Not Destroy Official Document.”
The form inside includes the words “2009 Congressional District Census,” “Census Tracking Code,” and “Census Document Registered To:” and is similar to an official census questionnaire.
Each section contains questions, and Section V, under “Census Certification and Reply,” asks for donations from $25 to $500 or “other.”
At the end of the document are the words “Paid for by the Republican National Committee.”
Dyke said Barrett “didn’t have any control over it.”
B.J. Welborn, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Census Bureau, said official census documents have a phone number for recipients to call to verify the mailing or ask questions. Census workers usually go door to door and have a badge and a hand-held computer, she said, but the agency does mail some questionnaires.
“What we send out is very clearly identifiable,” Welborn said.
“I couldn’t really comment on the GOP (letter),” she said. “We just want to make sure what is from us. If it is a mail survey, it is pretty easy to identify that it is from the U.S. government.”
People with questions can go to www.census.gov, she said. Two census offices opened in South Carolina in 2008 to supervise the current address canvassing operation, according to a statement. The phone numbers are (843) 323-4000 in Charleston and (803) 239-5012 in Columbia. Six more local census offices will open in the state to support 2010 census operations.
A U.S. Postal Service inspector did not respond by press time. An Anderson County Republican Party official did not return a phone message.
Note: MyTwoCensus is hoping to obtain an original copy/scan of the documents and envelopes discussed above. Please send any information/tips to MyTwoCensus @ MyTwoCensus.com.