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Republicans Send Out a 'Census' Form--That's Really a Fundraiser

Ryan Knutson | , ProPublica | 4/30/2010, 11:12 a.m.

But the RNC got around the new law by removing the word "census" from the envelope itself, and instead putting it on a document inside the envelope that could still be seen through the envelope's clear plastic window, according to TPMmuckraker.

This brought a backlash from a number of lawmakers, including Republicans. Rep. Maloney and Rep. Lacy Clay, D-Mo.,sent a letter to the postmaster general urging him to investigate the RNC mailer. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, wrote a letter to Michael Steele, the RNC chairman, asking him to "seriously reconsider the use of such deceptive and misleading tactics."

But Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif, went one step further: He drafted a new piece of legislation to close the loophole.

"We thought we had ended this," Issa said on the floor of the House as the bill was being discussed this morning. "We are making it clear here today that we will plug any perceived loopholes ... whether it's the Republican National Committee or the Democratic National Committee or [anybody else], don't use the census. Don't even thinking about using the census, because it's wrong."

The bill expands the prior law to mandate the disclosure requirement for any mailer where the word "census" is visible from the outside. It unanimously passed the House and is now on to the Senate.