Three Strikes and You’re Still in the Ball Game

The Republican Party may use the elephant as a logo, but it sure isn’t because it represents long memories, especially for the Republican Senate Caucus here in Colorado. Records dating back to 2001 have shown that the Republican legislators have “forgotten” how to use the official State Seal properly not once, or twice, but at least three times on their independent Web sites, which were not affiliated with the state government. Good thing the Republican legislators have had friends in high places all these years-notably in the Secretary of State’s office-who have kindly sent out reminders about how to correctly use the State Seal. A zealous complaint against the guilty party could have resulted with a class 5 felony charge by the Denver District Attorney or the Attorney General.

Although a letter dating back to 1999 from the SOS highlighted that “a facsimile of the seal may not be used by any private organization, business, or political organization” the State Seal somehow landed on the Republican State Senate Web site in 2001.

By 2003, the State Seal had remained on the political Republican Senate Caucus Web site Whoops! Another memo went out to the legislators from the Secretary of State Donetta Davidson to reiterate the State Seal rules. Down came the seal from the Web site.

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The Republican Senate Caucus might have changed Web site addresses in the past year, but not their mode of operation. There was that pesky State Seal back on their new Web site, Colorado Senate News. This prompted a letter from the Colorado Democratic Party on March 30th, 2007 to Secretary of State Mike Coffman where CDP Chair Pat Waak noted:

It is clear that the State Seal may not be used for purely campaign or political purposes.  It is also clear that a facsimile of the State Seal may not be used by any private organization, business, or political organization.  The website Coloradosenatenews.com is a website put up by Republican members of the Colorado Senate and is listed as “an online service of the Senate Minority Office.”  This website is clearly not an official purpose or function of the Colorado General Assembly, nor is it paid for by taxpayer dollars; therefore, it is clear that this website and its contents fall into the “political” category, outside of the acceptable and proper legal uses of the State Seal.  Furthermore, it is our understanding that this very group was ordered to remove the State Seal from their website last year, and they have, once again, appeared to have violated state law and your office’s directives and placed it on the website again.

In response, on April 2nd Secretary Coffman sent ANOTHER letter to legislators on the rules and regulations concerning the State Seal. He specifically said, as had his predecessors, that the seal could not be used on any political materials or Web sites.

Down came the State Seal on ColoradoSenateNews.com, although other “complications” have developed.

One could argue that there is substantial proof that the Republican legislators have “willfully” disregarded the rules pertaining to the use of the State Seal over the years and that maybe criminal charges could help their memory in the future. Fortunately for them, no DA or judge would touch the miniscule case. In the meantime, perhaps the SOS office should hand out string to tie around their fingers instead of memos.

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Leslie Robinson

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