RNC still using fake census forms to raise money

A month after the House and Senate unanimously approved a bill restricting direct-mail pieces designed to look like census documents, the Republican National Committee is at it again:

An RNC mailer obtained by TPMmuckraker bears the words "Census Document" and, in all caps, "DO NOT DESTROY/OFFICIAL DOCUMENT," on the outside of the envelope. In smaller letters, it says: "This is not a U.S. government document." The new law requires, among other things, that such mailers state the name and address of the sender on the outside of the envelope -- something the RNC's missive doesn't appear to do. Inside, a letter from RNC chair Michael Steele, dated April 12, asks recipients to fill out a questionnaire about their political views, and solicits donations of as much as $500 or more. (See the mailer here.)

Last month, in response to virtually identical RNC mailers, members of both parties cried foul, raising the concern that the mailers could reduce the response rate for the actual Census -- which was mailed to Americans last month -- by confusing some voters. [...] Congress quickly passed a law -- the House vote was 416-0 -- requiring that mailers marked "census" state the name and address of the sender on the outside of the envelope, and contain an unambiguous disclaimer making clear that the mailer is not affiliated with the government.

Based on a PDF image, the mailer obtained by TPMmuckraker does not appear to state the sender's name and address on the outside. And the words "DO NOT DESTROY/OFFICIAL DOCUMENT" would appear to make the disclaimer that it's not a government document less than unambiguous.

The RNC's fundraising efforts have taken a hit this year, and Chairman Michael Steele is under pressure to turn things around, so I can't say I'm surprised by this desperate act.

On a related note, census mail-back rates exceeded expectations this year, which will save the U.S. Census Bureau hundreds of millions of dollars. The top five states so far in terms of census participation rate are Wisconsin (80 percent), Minnesota (79 percent), Iowa and Indiana (77 percent) and Nebraska (76 percent).

RNC still using fake census forms to raise money

A month after the House and Senate unanimously approved a bill restricting direct-mail pieces designed to look like census documents, the Republican National Committee is at it again:

An RNC mailer obtained by TPMmuckraker bears the words "Census Document" and, in all caps, "DO NOT DESTROY/OFFICIAL DOCUMENT," on the outside of the envelope. In smaller letters, it says: "This is not a U.S. government document." The new law requires, among other things, that such mailers state the name and address of the sender on the outside of the envelope -- something the RNC's missive doesn't appear to do. Inside, a letter from RNC chair Michael Steele, dated April 12, asks recipients to fill out a questionnaire about their political views, and solicits donations of as much as $500 or more. (See the mailer here.)

Last month, in response to virtually identical RNC mailers, members of both parties cried foul, raising the concern that the mailers could reduce the response rate for the actual Census -- which was mailed to Americans last month -- by confusing some voters. [...] Congress quickly passed a law -- the House vote was 416-0 -- requiring that mailers marked "census" state the name and address of the sender on the outside of the envelope, and contain an unambiguous disclaimer making clear that the mailer is not affiliated with the government.

Based on a PDF image, the mailer obtained by TPMmuckraker does not appear to state the sender's name and address on the outside. And the words "DO NOT DESTROY/OFFICIAL DOCUMENT" would appear to make the disclaimer that it's not a government document less than unambiguous.

The RNC's fundraising efforts have taken a hit this year, and Chairman Michael Steele is under pressure to turn things around, so I can't say I'm surprised by this desperate act.

On a related note, census mail-back rates exceeded expectations this year, which will save the U.S. Census Bureau hundreds of millions of dollars. The top five states so far in terms of census participation rate are Wisconsin (80 percent), Minnesota (79 percent), Iowa and Indiana (77 percent) and Nebraska (76 percent).

Money and the 2010 Midterms

A bit of cold water for those who think the outcome of the 2010 midterms has already been decided, with the Republicans set to retake one or both Houses of the Congress.

The top 3 Dem campaign committees have outraised their GOP rivals, adding to a financial gap that some on the GOP side believe could rob them of opportunities come Nov.

The DSCC will report having raised $6M in March, barely higher than the NRSC's $5.14M raised. The DSCC also has a narrow cash on hand advantage, with $17M in the bank versus the NRSC's $15M.

Also this month, the DNC outraised the RNC by a $13M to $11M margin. Earlier today, the DCCC announced it would file reports showing it had outraised the NRCC, $9.77M to $8M.

Both the DCCC and the DSCC have paid off all their debt. The DNC still had $3.7M in obligations at the end of last month, though they have yet to report a debt figure this month. None of the GOP committees have showed a debt for months.

Looking deeper into the numbers, specifically into those relating to the House of Representatives, which is viewed as more tenuously in the hands of the Democrats than the Senate, the party in power now holds a $26 million to $10 million cash-on-hand advantage over the challenging Republicans. What does this mean? The national Democrats now have the capability to play in 2 1/2 times more seats than the national Republicans. While this financial disparity isn't assured to remain through November, the fact that the Democrats continue to raise more than their Republican counterparts suggests that all of the talk of the House already having been all but lost for the Democrats might be a bit overblown.

DNC Outraised RNC $13m to $11.4m in March

If the $11.4 million raised by the Republican National Committee in March indicates that the GOP base is becoming more motivated in the wake of the passage of healthcare reform, I wonder what it means that the Democratic National Committee raised even more money.

*** DNC outraises RNC in March: While the RNC says it raised $11.4 million in March, the DNC is going to report that it raised more than $13 million for the month, a party source tells First Read. “Since the last days of fundraising were done around passage of health care reform, it's clear supporters of reform were more generous than opponents,” the source says.

Considering further that there are now allegations that the RNC under Michael Steele may have been shifting around numbers in an effort to make it appear as though they have raised more money than they actually have, one wonders even further how the Beltway spinmeisters will be able to come up with the logic as to how this is all good news for Republicans...

Republicans and Democrats raising big money for governor's races

With 37 governor's races coming up this November, the Republican Governor's Association and the Democratic Governor's Association are pulling in big money. The RGA "raised $9 million in the first quarter of 2010 and has $31 million cash on hand," CNN reported yesterday. The DGA raised $8 million during the first quarter, setting a new record for the organization, and has $22 million on hand. A DGA press release noted that first-quarter receipts in 2010 exceeded the organization's fundraising during the first six months of 2006.

The RGA and DGA set fundraising records in 2009, with the Republican organization bringing in $30 million and its Democratic counterpart raising $23 million. I'm pleasantly surprised that the DGA has been able to stay so competitive with the RGA's fundraising in 2010. The first couple of months of the year were rocky for Democrats politically, and many major Republican donors have been fleeing the Republican National Committee for various reasons, including RNC staffers' embarrassing fundraising plans and massive overspending on luxury hotels, limos and nightclubs. I suspect a lot of contributions that would have gone to the RNC in other years are flowing to the RGA.

Yesterday's press release from the DGA noted:

Since 2006, the DGA has compiled an impressive winning record on targeted races. In the six races where both governors committees have spent at least $500,000, DGA has won four. [...]

The strong first quarter fundraising piggybacks on two consecutive record-breaking years for the DGA and builds on what was already the largest cash-on-hand in organizational history. With $22 million already in the bank, the DGA will spend more on races in 2010 than it spent in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 combined. Grassroots donors are fired up about the GOP’s redistricting takeover plan and they boosted the DGA tothe $8 million mark with a surge of contributions in the final days of the first quarter.

“Even as we’re raising more than ever before, we’re spending that money wisely,” said Nathan Daschle, the DGA’s executive director. “We’ve trimmed our operating expenses significantly so that we can put more resources where it matters – into the races on the ground – and our burn rate is the lowest it’s ever been. We are committed to spending every dollar wisely because the stakes are so high – Republicans are planning to win so many governorships that they can redistrict themselves back to power.”

Some of the key redistricting states with competitive gubernatorial elections include California, Texas, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

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