Office of Legislative Legal Services - Dan L. Cartin, Director
 
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Ethics Tutorial - Colorado General Assembly

- Use of state resources - 13 of 25

Background

It is improper and unethical to use state equipment and state services such as offices, telephones, internet access accounts, copiers, fax machines, computers, postage, supplies, and staff time for campaign or personal purposes.  Use of state equipment for these purposes holds potential civil and criminal liability. See, Colo. const. art. XXVIII, sec. 9 (2) (a), Colo. const. art. XXVIII, sec. 10, and Section 1-45-117 (4), C.R.S. A member of the General Assembly is not prohibited from using state facilities or equipment to communicate or correspond with the member's constituents, family members, or business associates. See, Section 24-18-106, C.R.S. Furthermore, the official state seal, measuring two and one-half inches in diameter, may only be used by the Secretary of State in an official capacity.  However, the Secretary of State has issued rules regarding the use of copies of the state seal.

Hypothetical

Use of state letterhead to endorse a political candidate

A very good friend of yours has decided to run for the office of Sheriff in your district.  Although he has not asked you, he has hinted that he would really appreciate your support.  You would like to send a letter of endorsement to your constituents who reside in that county using your official state legislative letterhead with the state seal on it, but you're not sure if that might violate the prohibitions on the use of state resources or the use of the state seal.

Question


May you use your official letterhead with the state seal to write a letter of endorsement for a candidate for the office of county Sheriff?

Select Yes, you may use your official state letterhead with the state seal on it to endorse your friend for the office of Sheriff, so long as you include a statement in the letter that the endorsement represents your individual opinion and does not represent the opinion of the General Assembly or any other member of the General Assembly.

Select Yes, you may use your official legislative letterhead with the state seal on it to endorse your friend for the office of Sheriff, so long as the state seal on your letterhead is merely a facsimile and is not exactly two and one-half inches in diameter (the size of the official state seal which may only be used by the Secretary of State in an official capacity).

Select No, it would be inappropriate to use your official legislative letterhead with the state seal on it to endorse a candidate for office.

Select No, because the cost of sending all those letters will undoubtedly exceed $50.


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Last updated: 09 OCT 2015


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