The headline is in red and all caps:
STOP LAKELAND FROM ADOPTING LIBERAL,
WASTEFUL SAN FRANCISCO STYLE VALUES – ACT TODAY!
That’s the headline above a letter recently addressed “Dear fellow conservative” and footnoted as “Political advertisement paid for and approved by Jack Myers, Republican, for State Senate.”
The text of the letter has been addressed elsewhere (Dockery, Townsend) and discussed in city meetings and on social media. There’s no need to replay that discussion, but there are a pair of questions I have about the piece of art that tops the letter. The words “Family First” have been added above the Great Seal of the State of Florida from the Florida State Flag.
Using that seal could be a problem for the Myers campaign. Take a look at Florida Statute 15.03(3):
(3) Only the Department of State shall be authorized to affix the seal to any document for the purpose of attesting, certifying, or otherwise formalizing such document. Any facsimile or reproduction of the great seal shall be manufactured, used, displayed, or otherwise employed by anyone only upon the approval of the Department of State. The Department of State may grant a certificate of approval upon application to it by any person showing good cause for the use of the seal for a proper purpose. The Department of State may adopt reasonable rules for the manufacture or use of the great seal or any facsimile or reproduction thereof. Any person violating the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
I read that as only the Department of State has the authority to approve or display the seal. If you want to use it, you have to fill out form DS-19 and get approval.
You also have to follow a particular set of rules to use the seal. Florida Administrative Rule 1-2.0021 — Use of the Seal of the State of Florida, to be exact.
Let’s look at some pertinent paragraphs from that rule:
No person, without express written authorization from the Department, shall manufacture, use, display or otherwise employ a facsimile or reproduction of the Great Seal of the State of Florida (Great Seal), except as provided in this rule.
(5) Definitions. The following words shall have the following meanings for the purposes of this rule:
(a) “Political or campaign purposes” shall include all uses related to a past, present, or future political campaign;
(7) In no event shall approval be given for the use of the Great Seal for the following:
(a) Political or campaign purposes;
(b) Stationery other than official government stationery;
It’s hard to read those rules and see how a “Political advertisement paid for and approved by Jack Myers, Republican, for State Senate” would be given permission to use the Great Seal of the State of Florida.
The questions that come immediately to mind:
1) Did Jack Myers get permission to use the Great Seal?