Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 *** Madigan decries “shady tactics from the GOP” on Census mailer
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*** UPDATED x1 *** Madigan decries “shady tactics from the GOP” on Census mailer

Wednesday, Feb 26, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

Today the Democratic Party of Illinois warned Illinois voters about a deceptive mailer being distributed by the Republican Party claiming to be Census questionnaires. State party leaders are urging people to beware of these fake Census mailers that serve to track voters, obtain private information and suppress Census participation.

An accurate Census count is critical for Illinois and fair representation in Congress of all our diverse communities. The mailer recently distributed by the GOP is not an official Census document and uses the Census as a tool for soliciting donations. In fact, this is a paid campaign mailer from the national Republican Party.

“Using the Census a guise to engage voters is extremely concerning and in reality will either scare people away from participating in a real Census questionnaire or collect data on voters the GOP wants to exclude from the November election,” Michael Madigan, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, said. “These are shady tactics from the GOP, and we encourage voters to keep an eye out for this phony Census mailer.”

“Communities in the Second Congressional District have a lot at stake in the upcoming Census count and we can bet the GOP would like to scare or intimidate them from participating in this critical count,” Democratic State Central Committee member Al Riley said. “We are asking voters to be on the lookout for questionable mailers and alert the state party if you feel you’ve received anything deceptive.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a real Census questionnaire will never ask for:

    * A full Social Security number
    * Bank or credit card numbers
    * Donations or money of any kind

Other tips for spotting a fake Census document include:

    * Be sure to check any web addresses for a .gov extension and an https prefix. The site you use should have both of these things and the official U.S. Census Bureau website is
    * Any mail you receive should have a return address of Jeffersonville, Indiana – if it doesn’t, it’s not from the Census Bureau.
    * If someone comes to your house, they should have a valid U.S. Census ID badge. If they don’t, they aren’t from the Census Bureau.

More information about spotting scam Census questionnaires can be found here. If you think a communication you received is a Census scam, please inform the Census Bureau at 800-354-7271 for English or 800-833-5625 for Spanish. When in doubt, you can also reach the Democratic Party of Illinois at 312-578-1554.

* This may be an overreaction, particularly with all the stuff that Madigan has pulled over the years. Click the pic for a larger image…


*** UPDATE *** Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) told me he filed a bill earlier this month after he received a complaint from a constituent about the above mailer

Amends the Criminal Code of 2012. Provides that a person commits a false personation if he or she knowingly and falsely represents himself or herself to be a census worker employed by the federal or State government, or their regional intermediary, grantee, subgrantee, or temporary volunteer for the purpose of effectuating identity theft or in furtherance of the commission of a felony. Provides that a violation of false personation of a census worker is a Class 4 felony. Clarifies that the offense applies to both false personation accomplished in person or by any means of communication. Effective immediately.

…Adding… With a hat tip to a commenter

A mailer circulating in Montana labeled “2019 congressional district census” notifies voters “you have been selected to represent voters in Bozeman, Montana,” with an enclosed letter that reads, “President Trump has requested that a Census of every Congressional district be conducted immediately.”

But the form, one of many sent to residents in at least four counties across the state, is not for the official U.S. census.

It is instead a survey, commissioned by the Republican Party, as written at the top of the form, to solicit donations for President Trump’s re-election campaign. […]

The so-called “imitation census” is putting state officials on edge about potentially confusing Montana’s more than 711,000 registered voters and by possibly dampening participation in the actual census in 2020, which comes after a tumultuous year for the U.S. Census Bureau.


  1. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 8:52 am:

    I don’t think this is an overreaction. Whatever Madigan has done before, does not excuse the actions of the ILGOP today.

    The ILGOP knows exactly what they are doing, and it’s deceptive by design and intent.

  2. - DTAG - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 8:52 am:

    How is this legal?

  3. - Squints - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 8:55 am:

    The Speaker is probably upset his team didn’t think of it first.

  4. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 8:56 am:

    I received something similar in a different district about a week or two ago. Yes it is deceptive, and it took me a minute to see its true nature when I got to the push questions which caused me to toss it. As I recall there was a fundraising pitch on the back. Yes Madigan has done similarly deceptive mailings in the past so his protests ring hollow, but the GOP has given him an opening here.

  5. - Bruce (no not him) - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 8:57 am:

    “Other tips for spotting a fake Census document include:”
    It’s from one of the political parties.

  6. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 8:58 am:

    spare me

  7. - CubsFan16 - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 9:01 am:

    Speaker Madigan says a political mailer has gone too far. Ha.

  8. - Arock - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 9:02 am:

    No more unethical than Speaker Michael Madigan has been the last 34+ years. The man that placed fake candidates on the ballot against him to confuse the voters.

  9. - Annonin' - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 9:11 am:

    Guess that word “census” just fell onto the page by accident. CarWashKing must be proud. Maybe the Ranking Member of the House Committee with election scam oversight could check this out.

  10. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 9:13 am:

    ==placed fake candidates on the ballot==

    If they are on the ballot, they turned in the appropriate number of signatures and were not successfully challenged. So, they were not “fake” maybe a put-up, but not a fake. Nothing to stop a Madigan opponent for campaigning on behalf of one of the put-ups; that would have been fun.

  11. - Cubs in '16 - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 9:14 am:

    ===Other tips for spotting a fake Census document include:===

    If correspondence contains the phrase “Because Madigan” it is not an official Census document. /s

  12. - Alfred - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 9:15 am:

    Not that it makes it any better but isn’t anything new, I have gotten several of these throughout the last 4 years at my home in Illinois — all of them from the RNC I believe

  13. - Sayitaintso - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 9:15 am:

    If anyone should know about ‘shady politics’ its Madigan. He hates competition.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 9:17 am:


    Just ONE of the comments;

    === No more unethical than Speaker Michael Madigan…===

    For the love of Pete.

    Instead of being angered or upset your party is engaged in these tactics… y’all are “too bad”, “good for the goose”, “they do it”…

    Rich points out that indeed this is something the Speaker has done, heck, the HDems have done some stuff like Social Security things as an example.

    What I’m pointing out?

    Don’t get all “how dare *they* do it” as you cheer and rationalize *your* side engaging in ludicrous stuff like this.

    It’s truly tiring that we can have in the same day, two separate instances where comments first cheer, then bemoan and condone.

    The reason folks play here with mailers like this is… sometimes they work… well.

    So, my point… you can’t rationalize your own side by pointing at the other AND then claim the moral ground later. Nope.

    Rich pointing out that Madigan complaining is some of y’all not realizing… y’all complain about things like this, but “it’s fine” that “we” do it now.

    So, everyone does it because it works, it’s still ethically “challenging” and choosing your own ethics to rationalize is as silly as when you complain.

    It would be best if no one did it. I highly doubt that will ever happen. Spare the “well, good for us” followed by later “how dare they”.

  15. - Former Candidate on the Ballot - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 9:25 am:

    Not a big deal at all. The return envelope address is to the Republican National Committee. There is not a single question that is unclear - It is all about Trump, Republican, etc. The opening line in the cover letter actually reads “Winning the 2020 Presidential Election is going to take a massive grassroots effort….”

    Having been a recipient of the Madigan Mailers - this is nothing. I think The Speaker has actually provided the GOP with an opening to demonstrate what unethical mailers truly are

  16. - City Zen - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 9:25 am:

    ==Does not excuse the actions of the ILGOP today==

    This is happening nationwide.

  17. - Montrose - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 9:27 am:

    My Dad received an identical mailer at his home in Iowa a few weeks ago. He wrote across the page “I am voting for Democrats. I hope you all lose.” and mailed it back. I don’t think he thought it was from the US Census Bureau.

  18. - ChrisB - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 9:28 am:

    I’ve gotten this for each of the last two election cycles (2018 and 2020). You can’t miss the three page fundraising letter outlining Trump’s greatest hits, plus the bit at the end of the questionnaire where it asks you to also slip a check to the GOP. It’s very much a fundraising mailer, with a push poll where I doubt they even bother with the results.

    Toss it in the trash where it belongs.

  19. - Upon Further Review - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 9:28 am:

    These tactics are deplorable and erode whatever trust remains with the public.

    They are deplorable when the Speaker employs them repeatedly and they are deplorable now. Unethical, underhanded tactics know no partisan boundaries.

    Perhaps save the angst for what appears to be shaping up as a Trump vs. Bernie Presidential campaign. Center left/Center right third party anyone?

  20. - Norseman - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 9:31 am:

    The messenger is not the most credible one, but the message is appropriate. This is an attempt to con people into serving the party’s needs. It’s frequently done by businesses as well.

  21. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 9:47 am:

    -It’s frequently done by businesses as well.-

    Yes. You sometimes see things like insurance solicitations in envelopes marked “official mail,” “penalty for tampering,” “immediate response required,” with a name that sounds close to a government agency. I’d like to see those done away with too.

  22. - OneMan - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 9:48 am:

    How many people got one of these? Are they sending them to hard D households?

  23. - NorthsideNoMore - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 9:49 am:

    Illinois Blood sport = election season

  24. - Lucky Pierre - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 9:55 am:

    Mike Madigan only decries the “shady tactics from the GOP”

    He encourages the “shady tactics from Illinois Democratic Party” that are exponentially larger and more influential.

  25. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 10:00 am:

    Montana has 1 congressional district (remap must be fun). It’s been projected to get a second district after the next census because of likely population gains.
    Are Montana Republicans really trying to prevent that?

  26. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 10:01 am:

    === Mike Madigan only decries the “shady tactics from the GOP”===

    So, - Lucky Pierre -, you think this shady tactic done this time by the RNC is fine? It’s a yes or no.

    ===…that are exponentially larger and more influential.===

    Then the RNC, the Republican National Committee?

    You need help. Madigan isn’t living in your head rent free, he has subdivisions, schools, a downtown, and park district there, lol

  27. - City Zen - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 10:12 am:

    ==He encourages the “shady tactics from Illinois Democratic Party”==

    Paging “Alliance of Illinois Taxpayers”

  28. - Captain Obvious - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 10:15 am:

    I got this mailer. Obviously a fundraiser and not an official US census form. Nor does it claim to be. Has many of the same intrusive and personal questions as the official form, but it is plainly not from the government, so Democrats are making a mountain out of this particular molehill.

  29. - Lucky Pierre - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 10:16 am:

    you think this shady tactic done this time by the RNC is fine? It’s a yes or no.

    Reading is fundamental, who is fooled by this thinking it is an official census of who lives in Illinois?

    2020 Congressional District Census commissioned by the Republican Party is at the very top of the page and is impossible to miss.

    Do you know what the definition of a census is?

    “an official count or survey of a population, typically recording various details of individuals.”

    The outrage is more likely that the questions expose how extreme the Democratic party is

  30. - Evanstonian - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 10:24 am:

    How on earth would the ILGOP benefit from less people filling out the census? If IL loses two CDs instead of just one, it ain’t gonna be a two democrats that get drawn out.

  31. - A Guy - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 10:31 am:

    Seeing how his crew credentials themselves when registering voters, as if they work for the County Clerk’s office….yeah, that’s not deceptive.

  32. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 10:33 am:

    === Seeing how his crew…===

    So you’re cool with this mailer because… “both sides”, or…

  33. - Louis G Atsaves - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 10:35 am:

    Oh puleeze. I’ve received a bunch of these over the past year or so. The envelope, the top of the questionnaire, all state where it is coming from and its purpose. They usually ask for a donation at the end of it. No one asks for a social security number and I don’t see one on on the image posted here. A big nothing here.

  34. - Norseman - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 10:48 am:

    Oh please, don’t be blind. The purpose of this format is to dupe people while maintaining a plausible deniability. They wouldn’t be using it if it didn’t work. It’s sad that people fall for it, but that’s an unfortunate fact of life.

  35. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 11:01 am:

    === The purpose of this format is to dupe people while maintaining a plausible deniability. They wouldn’t be using it if it didn’t work.===

    This is a correct assessment.

    The point of the exercise is the format of the mailer to fool some of the people some of the time.

    If it were a mere fundraising letter or pitch it would be presented differently.

    It works because it’s intent is also to fool.

    The reason folks are “they do it too” is based on, you guessed it, the other side also trying to fool, and now they approve because “their” side is now doing it too.

  36. - phocion - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 11:02 am:

    Pearl clutchers gotta clutch…

  37. - JIbba - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 11:03 am:

    “spare me”

    So Donnie is OK with political parties looking to fool people or scare them away from the actual census? Sounds right.

  38. - muon - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 11:40 am:

    I wonder if some of this is due to a failure to recognize the importance of the Census this year. For years, I have received periodic mailers from political parties (including the GOP) and PACs claiming to be a “census” of voters or supporters in a district. Of course in other years it was fairly easy to recognize that the questionnaire and fundraising appeal had nothing to do with the decennial US Census.

    I suspect that the GOP sent this out just as they have in the last few years. I’m more likely to believe that no one there thought to reconsider their annual appeal in a year that was the actual Census.

  39. - Louis G Atsaves - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 11:56 am:

    @Norseman, @OswegoWilly, the only folks being duped are those clutching their pearls shrieking at made up atrocities. As a lawyer, I get lots of so-called misleading fundraising appeals from Democrats. Not all lawyers are Democrats. Do I need to dig out my pearls for those in the future?

  40. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 12:20 pm:

    === Do I need to dig out my pearls for those in the future?===


    Friend, I think *any* side doing these mailings is bad form, as I also say in that same breath the reason they do it is because they work.

    Counselor, is this format typical, garden variety, of fundraising?

    === As a lawyer, I get lots of so-called misleading fundraising appeals from Democrats. Not all lawyers are Democrats.===

    So, as a lawyer, you’re cool with either side doing it, including the Trunpkins this time. Got it. Good to know.

  41. - Norseman - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 12:32 pm:

    Oswego Willy @ 12:20 pm +1

  42. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 12:52 pm:

    As a campaign mailer, this is targeting likely supporters of the Republican Party. What benefit would they derive from lowering the participation of their own people in the official census? None.

    The reason they are using this tactic is to get a broader response as they collect data from their likely voter base.

    I find it hard to get too excited about this.

    If they were sending it out to likely Dems, with indications that once you’ve filled this out, you’re done, then I would be all for calling them out. But this? Not so much.

  43. - Mama - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 4:52 pm:

    Never give anyone your Social Security number
    or Bank or credit card numbers no matter who sent the request..

  44. - Really - Wednesday, Feb 26, 20 @ 7:05 pm:

    Well, I guess if anyone would recognize shady it would be Mad Mike.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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