Monday, August 6, 2007

Did Durbin break the law?

UPDATE: The below-mentioned video has been removed from YouTube and is no longer available on the DailyKos site. Anne Leary still has the screenshot.

Anne Leary
of Backyard Conservative makes the argument this morning that U.S. Senator Dick Durbin may have violated the law by using the official senate seal on a video he prepared for the liberal YearlyKos convention this weekend in Chicago.

The video has been posted on the DailyKos website since Saturday.

If Durbin is going to make the argument that the video is a government activity, he sure is speaking in a political manner. Watch it for yourself. I wonder whether the presidential candidates who appeared at YearlyKos used government or campaign funds for their appearances. My guess is campaign. Durbin is up for re-election. From the Senate ethics manual, via Leary's post.

While the interpretation of this statute is a matter for the Department of Justice, it appears that in most cases use of the Senate Seal or the Great Seal for normal official Senate business would be appropriate; by contrast, commercial use, personal use or campaign use would be improper.
This looks like it might need some review by the Justice Department.

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