Using State Seal to Trick Voters into Contributing to Republican Political Campaigns
The Republican Party of New Mexico sent out a fundraising letter to 11,000 New Mexico voters last week dated “Thursday afternoon” – and apparently signed by House Majority Leader Rep. Nate Gentry – but it failed to get much more correct beyond that. The letter uses the official Great Seal of New Mexico prominently, which is an illegal use for political fundraising by members of the Legislature. Democratic Party Chair Deb Haaland today called for an investigation of Gentry and the State Republican Committee’s use of the prohibited seal.
In a stunning show of what a world without spellchecker would look like, the NM GOP sent out the letter with the State of New Mexico seal on the top, the name of their own Governor misspelled, assigned blame for no special session happening on Senate Democrats – even though they repeatedly issued statements that they were ready to work – and crowned Albuquerque Representative Nate Gentry “Speaker of the House Majority Leader.”
“What this letter demonstrates is the Republican’s complete and utter disregard for the intelligence of the people of New Mexico,” said Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairwoman Deb Haaland. “This letter clearly violates House Rules and Legislative Ethics guidelines. It was sent under false pretenses peddling non-truths under the guise of official State business. I want it to be investigated by the Secretary of State’s office, as well as the Attorney General to ensure that if any laws were broken, those responsible are held accountable.”
According to the New Mexico Legislative Ethics 2014 Guide, page 16, “Members shall use official legislative stationary, which is stationary that contains the state seal, only for matters that relate to the conduct of legislative business (Interim Legislative Ethics Committee, Advisory Opinion Nos 96-1).
The NM Republicans’ illegal use of the Great Seal of New Mexico on a political fundraising letter was featured in a news story by KOB News yesterday: http://www.kob.com/article/stories/s3801679.shtml#.VVzunenbLIX.
The apparent author, Rep. Gentry, gave an “aw shucks” response on TV to the letter, but Republicans immediately began distancing themselves from it. “I was surprised as anybody to see this letter,” Gentry told KOB News. “The signature contained on the letter is not even my signature”.
Instead of taking ownership of the letter, GOP spokesman Pat Garrett instead shifted responsibility onto GOP mail vendors and consultants.