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It is a census year, so stand up and be counted. Just be aware that some political groups may want more from you than a head count. According to a report by ProPublica, there are several fake census forms being floated by groups that merely want to fundraise.
Some attempts to push a political agenda or fundraise are fairly transparent. ProPublica writes that some people have received a census survey entitled "Official Ask America Datascan Survey," which goes on to ask if the recipient fears his guns will be taken away by the liberals now attempting to re-write the 2nd Amendment. Of course, the other side of the political spectrum is just as bad. In Connecticut, brochures regarding jobs with the real census were sent out with literature about local Democratic candidates attached.
One of the more problematic versions of the faux census survey comes from the RNC. This document is actually entitled "2010 Congressional District Census," but is nothing more than a fundraising apparatus. Peter Miller, president of the American Association of Public Opinion Research, and associate professor at Northwestern University, told ProPublica that fake or misleading surveys contribute to an overall distrust in public opinion research, which has fueled a decline in response rates.
"It is such a blatant miscommunication, or misrepresentation," he said. "The fact that it attaches itself to the Census, it's really more pernicious than other efforts that I've seen." Miller has sent a letter to the Michael Steele, the RNC chairman, asking him to stop the mailers. He has not heard back.
Everyone should be cautious of any document which appears official, but which asks for money. Count on the fact that the actual census, taken every ten years by the federal government, does not ask citizens for money. That's what taxes are for.
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