OT: Dirty politics, but legal, apparently: faux Census form

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Feb 11 08:56:16 UTC 2010

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Malcolm Hamilton <mch12938 at comcast.net>
Date: Wed, Feb 10, 2010 at 4:53 PM
Subject: [HURA] Faux Census form
To: HURA E-list <HURA at calists.harvard.edu>

Like many citizens you may have received an envelope in the mail
recently that looked like the 2010 Census form.  In big, bold letters
at the top it announces, "2010 CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT CENSUS." The
form even has a "Census Tracking Code." But it is not from the Census
Bureau. It is actually a survey from the Republican National

It is NOT your 2010 Census form.  Pro Publica (online Journalism in
the Public Interest) reports that this faux Census form doesn't appear
to be illegal. The United States Postal Inspection Service's general
counsel reviewed the survey in January and determined that it did not
violate the Deceptive Mailings Prevention Act of 1990  (PDF). The act
prohibits any mail from flat-out impersonation of a federal
organization. In this case, using the word Census, even with a capital
"C," does not apparently equate to impersonation of the U.S. Census

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