Montana’s Census and Economic Information Center at the Department of Commerce is reminding Montanans that official U.S. Census Bureau surveys will never ask people for money. A Census look-a-like survey was mailed to Montana residents and it is called the “2019 Congressional District Census.” It was mailed by the Republican National Committee. Lieutenant Governor Mike Cooney is Montana’s Complete Count Committee chairman and he says this survey is a political tool.

“It is very political, it is very partisan and they ask for money,” Cooney said. “The real Census will do none of that. It will not go into any political stuff and it will never ask you for any money. We just want to make sure people understand that this is not anything official. It is not part of the Census and we are concerned that it may take advantage of some people.”

In May, a nearly identical Census look-a-like mailer was sent to people in Lewis and Clark, Jefferson and Missoula counties.

“We are anticipating there will be some social media information going around to try to either dissuade people or try to somehow con people into giving information that they don’t need to give,” Cooney said. “This is the second time we have seen this mailing and we are hoping to educate people that this is not official.”

According to Cooney, counting everyone in Montana is critical because it determines the state’s share of federal funding for the next decade. It also determines whether Montana will get another representative in Congress. The official decennial Census begins in March 2020.