Democrats urge Republican National Committee to stop sending mail that resembles official census forms

Mar 5, 2020
In The News

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., far right, chair of the House Oversight Committee, speaks to reporters about the 2020 Census(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The Republican National Committee was urged Thursday to stop sending fundraising mail and making social media posts that resemble the census.

“Distributing these materials as Census operations begin around the country could mislead Americans, reduce Census participation and harm the accuracy of the Census,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and three fellow lawmakers wrote RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

The GOP has been caught mailing fundraising letters that closely resemble census forms from coast to coast.

In one example obtained by the Daily News, the RNC wrote a Westchester resident, “Enclosed is your official 2020 CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT CENSUS … in your name as a representative of Yorktown Heights.”

The mailing included a large form with 41 multiple-choice questions that mimic the real 2020 census being distributed starting this month. At the bottom, there was a large box to “certify” the survey and provide credit card details to make a contribution to the RNC.

Similar tactics from the RNC in 2010 prompted Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) to write a law barring non-government groups from sending solicitations with the word “census” on the envelope, outside cover or wrapper through U.S. mail.

But in the buildup to this year’s census, the government agency tasked with overseeing the national count has been contacted “dozens of times” about imitations from the RNC, Maloney wrote.

She cited a recent Census Bureau statement urging businesses and organizations “to avoid using the likeness of the U.S. Census Bureau and 2020 Census materials that may confuse recipients and the public.”

“These mailers are fully compliant with the law, clearly marked as a fundraising solicitation from the Republican National Committee, and in no way resemble the official government census," a RNC spokesperson said in a statement. "We are adding language to future mailers to make it even more obvious.”

Facebook on Thursday promised to take down ads from President Trump’s campaign that resembled the census, according to CBS. The social media giant previously said it would allow more than 1,000 of the ads to fly.