Republican fundraiser titled 'Census' sparks controversy

A fundraising letter from the Republican Party that uses the word "Census" has sparked outrage between Democratic leaders and the Census bureau.

The Census bureau and democratic leaders are afraid that people will confuse this form for an official Census form.

The form was sent out to households across the nation, including the Valley.

It's a fundraising survey from the Republican Party called the 2010 Congressional District Census, but has nothing to do with the U.S. Census currently underway.

The survey asks political questions, and at the end, it requests a monetary donation, as well as a 15 dollar cost for processing the document.

But the fact that the form uses the word Census on the document is what has the Census bureau and Democratic leaders up in arms.

"Anytime it causes individuals to mistakenly believe that they are the official Census could undermine the participation of a 2010 Census, so we hope that they aren't confused and their cooperation with the Census is done or takes place, and that they do cooperate with Census takers," said Michael Cook, Census spokesman.

Democratic leaders say the Republican National Committee is trying to trick people into donating to their party by sending a Census look-a-like form.

To verify whether a form you've received is an official Census form, contact the U.S. Census bureau at 1-866-872-6868.

The following is a joint statement from U.S. Representatives Solomon Ortiz, Silvestre Reyes, Ruben Hinojosa, Ciro Rodriguez, and Henry Cuellar:

"As Members of Congress representing "hard to count" census tracts along the Texas-Mexico border region, we are deeply concerned by the continued efforts of the Republican National Committee (RNC) to solicit donations under the guise of an "official 2010 Congressional District Census." These efforts cause confusion among residents as the official Census is being conducted and interfere with the ongoing work of Census workers throughout the state and nation.

Currently, thousands of Census enumerators are working to ensure an accurate count for the 2010 Census. This Republican-sponsored mailer identified as a "2010 Congressional District Census" is misleading and is counterproductive to the efforts of the U.S. Census Bureau and all the individuals and organizations that have worked to provide residents with accurate information about the census process to protect them against potential cases of fraud.

Soliciting donations using census terminology should not be tolerated by the RNC as census workers continue their efforts to count every resident in the United States. We strongly urge the Republican National Committee to discontinue using census terminology in fundraising mailers during this critical period. These efforts may generate mistrust of Census enumerators in border communities, and may impact census participation rates, particularly in "hard to count" areas.

We remind all residents that Census workers will not ask for donations of any kind or personal information such as Social Security numbers or legal status. The U.S. Census will not ask for an individual's political views or party affiliation. If residents have any questions about the census, we urge them to contact our offices directly.

Republican Candidate for U.S. Congress, District 15 Eddie Zamora responded with this statement:

"The '2010 Congressional District Census' is a fund-raising effort by the Republican National Committee headquartered in Washington, D.C. It states clearly 'This is not a U.S. Government document,' and further that it is 'Commissioned by the Republican Party, ' Ergo it is NOT 'confusing,' nor does it "interfere with ongoing work of Census workers.' It is no different than fund-raising efforts by Democratic National Committee, using everything from Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Rep. Hinojosa, to President Obama touting everything from requests for donations to continue his health care bill that passed despite overwhelming opposition in almost every national poll, to promises of 'dinner with the President and Speaker Pelosi.'

"I can see why each of the Democratic Incumbent Congressmen listed would be 'deeply concerned' by continued fund-raising efforts of the Republican National Committee-especially when the day-to-day polling numbers who the approval numbers of their 'leadership' in Washington in continuous decline, with increasing prognostications for seat pick-ups for Conservative Republicans in both the U.S. Houose and Senate in a little more than six months.

"It's quite telling that our elected 'Representatives' have such a low impression of the average intelligence of We The People of Texas Congressional District 15 as to think that we could be confused. Actually, we do see clearly what has been going on with their Chicago Thug-style politics of jamming their political agenda down our throats without bothering to win the public debates on the issues first. They should get an eye-opening education on this in about six months."

-Eddie Zamora, Conservative Republican Candidate and Nominee for U.S. Congress for TXCD-15