September 3, 2004
J' accuse! The RNC and Pres. Bush violated Title 18, Section 713 of the US Code
BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
Dear Congressman Waxman,
As you know from our prior correspondence, I am a resident of your congressional district. I again need the assistance of your office with reporting a serious violation of US Laws that has come to my attention.
It appears to me that the RNC's use of a representation of the Great Seal of the United States (on the stage from which Pres. Bush delivered his Sept 2, 2004 nomination acceptance speech at the conclusion of the Republican Convention) is a blatant violation of the US Code that governs the official use of the Great Seal.
The US Code, Title 18, Part I, Chapter 33, Section. 713, says:
You can access the fulltext of that section here.
As far as I know, the US government does not officially sponsor or approve such ANY campaign related appearances by any sitting member of the Executive or Legislative branches.
And it seems to me that this law is relevant even if the seal the RNC used isn't an accurate copy of the official Great Seal, since the RNC's intent was clearly to give the false impression of official government approval.
The cited US Code section seems to me to expressly prohibit the President's misuse of the great seal (and the Presidential Seal) as a backdrop for any such (non-official) presidential speeches at any sort of partisan meetings (including his nomination acceptance speech).
Surely it's obvious that if Sen. John Kerry had misused the Senate's official seal (or the Great Seal) in such a manner that there would be immediate repercussions.
And, Congressman Waxman, I suspect that if you (or any other member of the House) were to misuse the official seal of the House during a campaign speech, that the House of Representatives would take immediate action against you. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
I would appreciate if you or someone from your office would assist me in immediately filing an official compliant with the appropriate agency and/or department to see that those responsible for this violation forced to answer for their actions and enjoined from future such violations.
This is not a trivial matter. Surely, the fact that Section 713 calls for a penalty of six months in prison makes this obvious. But that penalty might be somewhat harsh. At a minimum, the RNC and Pres. Bush owe the whole country an immediate public apology and their assurances that they won't allow any additional such crimes to occur.
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
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