Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele walks off stage after announcing that he would drop his re-election bid today, during the Republican National Committee Winter Meeting in Oxon Hill, Md. Story here. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Michael Steele addresses state GOP rally in Tacoma.
TACOMA – The embattled national chairman of the Republican Party insisted he is behind American troops in Afghanistan “1,000 percent” as he urged GOP faithful here to fight for election victories in November.
Michael Steele, the Republican National Committee chairman who drew criticism from some of his party’s senior congressional leaders last week for describing Afghanistan as “a war of Obama’s choosing,” sought to mute that criticism in an area with a heavy military presence.
“I am 1,000 percent for victory for our men and women in the service,” Steele told about 100 people gathered for an event called the Republican Resurgence Rally. “We cannot leave them on the battlefield.”
Members of Congress are apparently so ticked off about the Republican National Committee’s use of a “Census” to raise money in its mailers that they’ve introduced a new bill to stop it, passing it quickly this week on a voice vote in the House of Representatives.
So what, Republicans out there might say. The House is run by Democrats always looking to take a shot at the GOP. Except this bill was written by Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, and it passed without dissent from either party.
The RNC remains unabashed about its mailings, which have gone out to Eastern Washington residents as well as folks in some other states. RNC Chairman Michael Steele, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: “This was within the law as written. I can’t help it that the Democrats wrote a bad bill.”
He answers a question about it in at about 6:17 of the above clip..
The previous bill outlawing the practice was sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and passed unanimously in the House and Senate this year. The RNC believes it complies with the law, which bans the use of the word Census on the envelope, because “Census Document” appears on a page of the mailing with the addressee’s name that’s inside the envelope and shows through a plastic window.
Issa told the Associated Press it’s not a partisan issue. “When it comes to the Census htere is no separation between Republicans and Democrats. Working together we thought we put an end to this deceptive practice. Unfortunately, the foolishness of the RNC to move forward with yet another deceptive mail piece has caused us to act again.”
The new bill is now in the Senate.
Fundraising letters sent to Eastern Washington voters from the national Republican Party are receiving a review by the U.S. Postal Service and bipartisan criticism from members of Congress who view them as a deceptive and potentially illegal infringement on the U.S. Census.
Two Democratic House members wrote the postmaster general, calling for an investigation into whether the April 12 mailings violate a law that passed unanimously this year and was signed by President Obama on April 7. The letters, signed by Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, were also sent to residents of several other states.
One Republican congressman says the letters “violate the letter as well as the spirit” of that law and another is proposing yet another law to try to stop the RNC’s long-standing money raising tactic.
The national GOP organization is unfazed. A spokesman insisted Monday the mailings are “in full compliance” with the law and designed to raise money to beat incumbent Democrats. Jahan Wilcox wouldn’t say how many districts around the country were sent mailings: “We don’t get into details on our fund-raising practices.”
As reported Sunday in The Spokesman-Review’s Spin Control, the fund-raising letter comes in a letter marked “Official Document/Do Not Destroy” and bold words above the address say it contains a “Census Document Registered To” the recipient. Lighter type above the Census notation says “This is not a U.S. Government Document”.
Some Eastern Washington voters diligent about returning their U.S. Census form may have been surprised last week when what seemed like another Census form arrived in the mail.
An official looking letter – its envelope, after all reads DO NOT DESTROY/OFFICIAL DOCUMENT – says it is carrying a “Census Document” registered to the addressee, with one of those cool line codes that just reek of officialdom.
The document inside isn’t from the Census Bureau. But it is someone you might’ve heard of: Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.
The nation’s top GOP official took time out from his busy schedule of trying not to get fired to get input from “a select few” in Washington’s 5th Congressional District. How select isn’t clear, but chances are not very. The copy forwarded to me came from a friend’s spouse who is in no way a Republican. Nonetheless, the information sought is described as absolutely critical to building what Steele’s calls “a state of the art grassroots organization” to win races up and down the ballot.
To do that, Steele sent out a “2010 Congressional District Census”, which masquerades as an in-depth survey, but is really just a way to raise money. A sample of the questions:
Saturday Night Live had better than normal politcal satire this weekend. Of course, they’ve got lots to work with. They took shots at Republicans and Democrats such as:
The Michael Steele - Rush Limbaugh flap:
Timothy Geithner trying to get a handle on the economy:.
So it would seem from TalkingPointsMemo’s quick look at the day.
After the weekend’s Conservative Political Action Committee meeting, the biggest talking point revolves around Rush Limbaugh and his role as the “leader” of the Republican Party.
Go inside the blog to view some of the videos that are fueling the debate.