Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Durbin: Senate equipment for campaign video

Just when you thought U.S. Senator Dick Durbin had dispensed with the tempest about using his Senate logo for a campaign video, his staff dug an even deeper hole.

On the New York Times blog Caucus, Durbin spokesman Mike Daly admitted that a 5-minute welcome video to liberal bloggers at the YearlyKos convention last weekend in Chicago should not have had the Senate logo, because, by inference, it was campaign related. However, in the same NY Times blog post, it says that Durbin's people concede the video was made in the Senate studios.

The video, which was posted to a YouTube site connected to Mr. Durbin's re-election Web Site, has since been removed along with several other clips. Today a spokesman for Mr. Durbin, the assistant majority leader, acknowledged that the video had been made using Senate equipment and should not have been posted.

The spokesman, Michael Daly, acknowledged that Mr. Durbin's team made what amounted to a "clerical error," but said that they did not intentionally violate Senate ethics rules. A section of the Senate Ethics Manual notes that it is improper to use the Senate seal in connection with campaign messages.

"We've taken it down, and it shouldn't have been there," Mr. Daly said. He added that the campaign consultants who posted the video to Mr. Durbin's YouTube site were not aware it had been produced in the Senate's recording studio. (You can no longer connect from several YearlyKos sites that linked to the video on YouTube, because it's been deleted.)
Either this story is wrong, or Durbin has admitted an even wider infraction: Using government equipment for campaign purposes. We'll see if either the NY Times or Durbin clarify this.

Meanwhile, for some reason, the video has resurfaced on YouTube after it was yanked yesterday amid the criticism over the government seal. Anne Leary has the YouTube link.

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