House passes new 'census mailer' bill
The House unanimously approved a bill Wednesday that closes loopholes in the "census mailer" law in an effort to stop the Republican National Committee from using the word "census" on fundraising mailers.
Lawmakers moved quickly to close the loophole as the Census Bureau continues its operations of the 2010 Census.
The bill, introduced Tuesday by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), removed any ambiguity from the law signed by President Obama this month that makes it illegal to use the word "census" on an envelope or document without a disclaimer stating that the sender is not associated with the U.S. government.
Issa's bill clarifies that it's illegal to see the word "census" without a disclaimer if it's visible through the envelope or on an outside cover or wrapper or on the envelope itself.
Issa, a reliable critic of the Obama administration and Democratic lawmakers, introduced the bill and took a swipe at GOP leadership on Wednesday morning, saying their mailings "violated the spirit" of the original law.
"I would say to people who raise money, whether it’s the Republican National Committee, the Democratic National Committee, other political entities or nonpolitical entities who simply want to have their envelopes open to raise money or get their message out, don’t use the census," Issa said. "Don’t even think about using the census because it’s wrong. If something is deceptive, then it’s wrong under the law we already passed."
Democrats and minority and senior citizen rights groups had blasted the RNC and the National Republican Congressional Committee for sending such solicitations earlier this year.
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| April 28, 2010; 11:25 AM ET
Categories: Census, Congress
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