April 29, 2010

As I already noted, Rep. Carolyn Maloney who was the original sponsor of the "Prevent Deceptive Census Look Alike Mailings Act" talked to Rachel Maddow about the RNC potentially breaking that law just after it passed. Wolf Blitzer asked Micheal Steele about that on The Situation Room and here is his response.

BLITZER: A quick question on this Republican Party 2010 Congressional District census that was sent out with your name --


BLITZER: -- right on page one. You're getting a lot of criticism that this was a fund-raising device, but it looks like a real census. And people are saying this was inappropriate, this was misleading.

I want you to respond to the criticism and you've seen plenty of it.

STEELE: Well, yes, I met with Congressman Issa on this and I've talked to other leaders in the party. We've talked to our lawyers that this was within the law as written. And we were not outside of those bounds. And, you know, I can't help that the Democrats wrote a bad bill. The reality of it is we complied to what the law required. And the mailer went out.

Apparently this doesn't mean much to Michael Steele -- In Rebuke To GOP, House Votes 416-0 To Ban Misleading 'Census' Mailers:

The House has voted 416-0 to ban misleading mailers designed to look like official communications from the Census Bureau of the kind that two national Republican groups recently sent out.

Under the bill, co-sponsored by two House Republicans as well as several Democrats, mailers marked "census" will have to state the name and address of the sender, along with an unambiguous disclaimer that it's not affiliated with the federal government. It will be taken up by the Senate soon.

The Republican National Committee and the National Republican Campaign Committee have both sent out mailers recently that were designed to look like they came from the Census Bureau.

...Doug Heye, an RNC spokesman said: "Just as it has done in the past, the committee will continue to comply with the law."

The measure was co-sponsored by Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). Recently, both men slammed the mailers. "Nothing could be more wrong," said Issa.

So what was the loophole that the RNC exploited?

As TPM also reported:

The RNC has said that its mailer -- reported by TPMmuckraker yesterday -- did not violate the law passed by Congress last month. The RNC may be hanging that claim on the fact that the new mailer doesn't say the word "Census" on the outside of the envelope -- which, according to Bardella, is required to trigger the law.

Darrell Issa just introduced a bill that the House again passed unanimously to close the loophole in the "census" mailer. If the RNC still doesn't follow the law after it passes the Senate, is he going to try to blame it on Democrats writing a bad bill again? The RNC was fully aware of the intent of the law and they chose to violate it anyway. It's pretty bad when your tactics are so slimy that every Republican member of the House of Representatives does something to stop them.

What a shameless hack. Of course Wolf Blitzer couldn't bother to point out any of this to Steele while he had him on the air. If Blitzer knew enough about the mailing to ask him about it in the first place, he also had to know what kind of support it had from Republicans, and Issa's involvement. He brings it up and then gives Steele a pass with no follow up. Blitzer is apparently more worried about Michael Steele giving him another interview than holding his feet to the fire for the RNC deceiving the American public into possibly not returning their census forms because they think a legitimate one is another piece of junk mail from the RNC. Shameful.

If he was doing his job he'd be informing them about the hoax instead of allowing Steele to blame their activities on Democrats not anticipating how low his organization would go to exploit a loophole.

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