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Former GOP appointee blasts Republicans over 'census' mailing

By Ed O'Keefe

A former director of the U.S. Census Bureau has criticized the Republican National Committee over its decision to send senior citizens envelopes and questionnaires similar in design to the government's decennial Census forms.

Barbara Everitt Bryant, who was appointed by George H.W. Bush, served as Census director from 1989 to 1993. She said in a letter sent to RNC Chairman Michael S. Steele that she received the mailer, called the "2010 Congressional District Census." It was delivered in an envelope marked with the words, "Do Not Destroy, Official Document."

The mailer is "blatantly attempting to interfere with the United States’ 2010 Census of the Population," Bryant said. "The design of the mailing envelope and its enclosure is clearly intended to confuse recipients and, in doing so, affect response to the nation’s 23rd decennial census."

The mailing is "nothing more than a fund raising appeal by the RCCC [sic] using 20 very non-objective statements that no professional researcher would even call questions," she said. "Those who respond may feel they have been good citizens and already answered the census when their real questionnaires arrive next month."

"The document clearly indicates that it is an RNC mailer," said RNC spokeswoman Katie Wright. "The purpose of this document is to gather Republican opinion from across the country and raise a little money."

The party has used the mailer as a fundraising tool for more than a decade. Congressional Democrats, minority groups and public opinion researchers have complained publicly and more formally to the Postmaster General, but the Postal Service ruled that the mailing is legal because it does not explicitly use the words "U.S. Census Bureau" or the agency's seal.

Republican lawmakers and conservative activists have criticized the Census over its policy of counting undocumented immigrants. (That's the issue du jour in Florida's Republican Senate primary.)

Official Census questionnaires will be mailed in mid-March, the Census Bureau said. The agency has received complaints about the RNC mailing and similar efforts by other groups, but lacks the authority or ability to do anything about them.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 3, 2010; 3:25 PM ET
Categories:  Census  
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I'd say that's a pretty low thing for the RNCC to do, but it's really quite normal for them.

Posted by: EricS2 | February 3, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

If the Feds didn't use the census to parcel out the "goodies" from the $3.8 Trillion Dollars it is stealing from the people this year, the census wouldn't be so political. All I'm giving these thieving scumbags is my name rank and serial number!

Posted by: vince33x | February 3, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Biting the hand that fed her.

Posted by: screwjob2 | February 3, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

I got one of these mailings and I explained to these folks exactly what I thought of them and their mailing and also explained to them that they had a big hand in the problems this country has today. For some reason that just don't seem to understand that. I have no use for the republican party or any of its members!!

Posted by: dbuccini | February 4, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Simply execrable. What one expects from Republican pols. I regularly receive equally sleazy "opinion surveys" from the RNC designed so the respondent cannot help but answer as they wish.

I agree with Ms. Bryant. Senior citizens, some anyway, can be gulled and will decide they do not need to send back their real census form when it arrives. A blatant attempt to bias the census. Expect their mailing next to target minorities.

This deserves wide publicity and exposure for the cheap trick it is.

Posted by: Retired_Chemist | February 4, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Snakes in the grass, crawling through the mail boxes - All compliments of the GNoP.

This is not surprising. Their MO is to deceive and distort. This tactic is the same as their election tactic - tell voters that they will be arrested if they have outstanding traffic tickets.

Liars, all of them.

Posted by: hadelaide | February 4, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Biting the hand that fed her.

Posted by: screwjob2
No, as a former federal employee
she was paid by ALL tax payers
not just the Republicrats. The census
provides a clearly defined representation
based on the population counts. It insures
that there is an adequate infrastructure
and that the needs of our citizens
are met. That IS what "Government of the People" is about. Good representation of
any kind puts the American people before
party political lies.

Posted by: iley_dohn | February 4, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

How fortunate for me – I received two “OFFICIAL DOCUMENT’s” directing me “DO NOT DESTROY” on the envelope. Well, I immediately turned down the volume on that talk show host who is named after a cheese and ripped open that communiqué so as to completely focus on the task at hand. The “Census Survey” questions were just riveting and made me think long and hard before I could answer. I needed to engage all my analytical abilities and even pull out my “Little Explorer’s Picture Dictionary” to make sure I didn’t misunderstand any of the words that had more than one syllable – I think the word for that is polysyllabic - unless that means something bad – like more than one wife? I’m just not sure.

Here’re a few innocently phrased questions I had to ponder:
1. Do you think the record trillion dollar deficit the Demoncrats (oops, my fault) Democrats are creating with their out-of-control spending is going to have disastrous consequences for our nation?
A. Oh yes, just think back to the first Bush era when we had plummeting housing markets and out-of-control gas prices. We wouldn’t want a repeat of that, would we!
2. Would you like Congress to pass tax cuts to further stimulate the economy?
A: By golly Yes! I fully understand that tax cuts to Big Oil will immediately give me personally more discretionary income. A BIG yes!
3. Are you concerned with government spending?
A: Oh yes. I am concerned that the government won’t spend any money on my diabetic, low income friend who fell and bumped his head and may have swelling on his brain but can’t afford to go to the doctor.
4. Do you trust the Obama Administration to keep America’s borders secure to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the country?
A:Of course not! The current inundation of Canadians is causing untold numbers of true American’s to pronounce the word “project” like “ proh-ject.” Next we’ll be calling garbage disposals “garburators.” This is dangerous talk!
5. Do you believe global warming needs to be dealt with immediately?
A: Clearly ridiculous. There’s nothing to deal with! Cripey, it snowed in Florida!
6. Do you believe Republicans should continue to embrace social issues?
A: Did you mean strangle instead of embrace? Well, then continue!

You better betcha that Census form took me all afternoon to fill out. It got so late that I plumb forgot to fill out the CENSUS CERTIFICATION AND REPLY and check off which level of financial donation I could make to the up-front, no nonsense, compassionate, socially responsible Republican Party that cares so much about my liberties that it engages in deceptive advertising just to pique my interest. I almost felt bad using their return postage-paid envelopes with my 2 sets of identical answers.

Posted by: ADarby | February 4, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

"named after a cheese"?

I like word puzzzles and usually do pretty well - -but I didn't get this one.

Limbaugh=Limburger maybe?

Posted by: lquarton | February 4, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

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