Monday, May 06, 2002

From the Department of Dignitude:

I really don't know what to say about this I think it speaks for itself really.

Late last month, a quarter-million households received an official-looking brown envelope, with a return address on the front identifying it as a "REGISTERED CENSUS DOCUMENT." Large letters next to the address window commanded, "DO NOT BEND." Adding to the governmental imprimatur, the second and third lines of the return address read, "Penalty for Private Use (Rev. 3/95)."

Imagine the surprise when the enclosure turned out to be the National Republican Senatorial Committee "Chairman's Census," with tough questions such as these: "Did you know that Republicans must defend 20 seats and Democrats only defend 14? Are you aware that the progress of the Bush Administration is currently being completely obstructed by Tom Daschle and his Democratic Senate majority? Are you prepared to help us win this fight?"

The four-page enclosed letter from the committee chairman, Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), like the "Census" form, concluded with a standard pitch for contributions from $25 up.

Asked about the deceptive envelope, committee officials shifted the responsibility to an unidentified private direct-mail vendor. "We have an elaborate sign-off system for every piece of mail that goes out," said NRSC spokeswoman Ginny Wolfe, "but we never looked at the envelope. From now on, we will."