“Office of the President Elect” seal violates 18 USC Sec. 713??
I recall from a few months ago that there was much concern in the conservative blogosphere over the Obama campaign seal. I understood what the campaign was trying to do – they wanted the people to get used to the idea that Obama could be president. Of course, The Weekly Standard opined that this seal was somehow a misappropriation of the seal of the President of the United States, and thus, a violation of 18 USC Sec. 713. In actuality, it was simply a stylized seal.
The same cannot be said for the seal of the “Office of the President Elect”, pictured in the image below:
According to 18 USC Sec. 713:
18 USC Sec. 713 …
(a) Whoever knowingly displays any printed or other likeness of the great seal of the United States, or of the seals of the President or the Vice President of the United States, or the seal of the United States Senate, or the seal of the United States House of Representatives, or the seal of the United States Congress, or any facsimile thereof, in, or in connection with, any advertisement, poster, circular, book, pamphlet, or other publication, public meeting, play, motion picture, telecast, or other production, or on any building, monument, or stationery, for the purpose of conveying, or in a manner reasonably calculated to convey, a false impression of sponsorship or approval by the Government of the United States or by any department, agency, or instrumentality thereof, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.
Looking at that seal, and the logo present on the change.gov non-government web site, it is clear that the seal presented is actually the Great Seal of the United States. Take a look at the images below.
The seal on top is from the non-governmental “Office of the President Elect”, the image in the middle is from the Great Seal of the United States, and the bottom image is an overlay of the two. It’s pretty clear that they are simply using the the Great Seal as their logo. The important distinction between this “seal” and the earlier campaign seal, is that rather than use a stylized seal, this one uses the exact image from the Great Seal.
As a singular offense, this may not be significant (though still punishable under the law). However, the use of an official government seal in concert with an official sounding, yet fictitious ”Office” and the .gov domain name, it’s clear that the intent of this site is to convince the visitors to this site that it is somehow an official government site, of the people, by the people and for the people, which it is not.
the attachments to this post: