PORTLAND, Ore — Some Oregon residents received a survey from the Republic National Committee that mimics the look of a federal census form. The mailers are labeled “2019 Congressional District Census” and solicit donations for President Trump’s reelection.
The survey asks the person’s age, political preference and whether they plan on supporting Donald Trump in the 2020 Presidential election. The mailer also includes questions about domestic issues, national defense and immigration.
One question asks participants, “Do you support President’s Trump’s efforts to secure our national’s southern border by building a wall?”
“It looks like an official document,” said Patricia Tawney of Colton, Oregon. “It seems to me they’re using the census to mislead people. It’s a trick to get you to open it up.”
The mailings are not legitimate U.S. Census survey documents.
The potentially misleading surveys come as the U.S. Census Bureau prepares for a federal population count in 2020.
Last month, officials in Montana issued a warning about the mailers reminding residents the U.S. Census Bureau doesn’t solicit donations. Legitimate census survey documents are postmarked from the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Census Bureau.
In an email to KGW, a Republican National Committee official said, “Mailers are clearly marked that they are from the Republican National Committee. The mailers receive an overwhelming positive response and we continue to send each year because it performs so well.”
The Democratic National Committee has sent similar surveys in the past, but those mailers do not appear to have included the word “census.”
The RNC mailer sent to Oregon residents makes requests for donations ranging from $25 to $1,000. If recipients can’t afford that amount, they are encouraged to send “$15 to help pay for the cost of processing my Census Document.”
“At some point you don’t know what’s real mail and what’s not,” explained Tawney, who has received two other similar surveys from the Republican National Committee.
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