It would appear that former Democratic legislator Robert Bowen, running against incumbent Republican Kathleen Conti, has committed a marketing foul in his campaign already. A keen observer directed us to his website shown below, which proudly displays the Colorado State seal with the candidate standing next to an American flag. Besides asking that voters to ignore his political affiliation (HE’S A DEMOCRAT), it’s verboten to use the State seal in campaigning, according to a 2012 memo from the Secretary of State’s office:
“A facsimile of the State Seal – either in part, or in whole – may not be used for campaign purposes, unrelated to the Member’s official duties. In particular, a facsimile shall not be used on the Member’s campaign materials, including a campaign website. Photos of Members used for campaign purposes should not include any prominent display of the State Seal. (Members should also be mindful of the limitations of section 1-45-117, C.R.S., concerning the use of public
resources for campaign purposes.)”
This may seem nit-picky. Other than giving the appearance that he’s the incumbent and/or using state resources for campaign purposes, is this nefarious? Probably not. But, going back to that memo, the penalties are stiff for improper use – and by stiff, we mean a felony. From the memo:
24-80-902. Punishment for illegal use.
Any person who illegally uses or affixes the seal of this state to any written or printed document whatever, or fraudulently forges, defaces, corrupts, or counterfeited seal to any commission, deed, warrant, pardon, certificate, or other written or printed instrument, or has in his possession or custody any such seal, knowing it to be falsely made and counterfeited, and willfully conceals the same, commits a class 5 felony and shall be punished as provided in section 18-1.3-401, C.R.S.
For those who would suggest that we should have pity on this poor sap for this error (and for his ugly website), remember this guy served in the Colorado state legislature a while back. He should really know better.