Officially speaking | Arkansas Blog

Officially speaking

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The official looking imprint at right appears on both an envelope and enclosed letter from Gilbert Baker seeking contributions to his U.S. Senate campaign.

Though it says it's the "great seal of the state of Arkansas," it's not. It's been artistically altered so it won't be a duplicate. It just looks official. Why alter it? Because the real state seal can be used only by permission of the governor, according to the state Constitution. It wouldn't be good form for a Republican to use the real thing in a state campaign mailing given that Republican officials a few years ago filed a formal complaint over use of the great seal in a campaign mailing by state Rep. Jan Judy of Fayetteville.

Clint Reed, a campaign consultant for Baker, acknowledges that the imprint on Baker's stationery is a "faux seal." He didn't want to talk much about it, except to say, "It is a standard practice in direct mail fund-raising."

In the great scheme of Campaign World, a little sleight of hand ain't a biggie. "Standard practice," to coin a phrase. The letter itself does include the notation that the mailing was paid for by the Baker campaign, not at government expense.

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