This arrived in my mailbox today. It’s a glossy, eight-page brochure from state Senator Mark DeSaulnier with a full-page color photo of him with Ellen Tauscher, whose former 10th congressional seat he is running to fill. As you can see, it reads “Mark DeSaulnier is my choice for Congress.”
Way back, Tauscher, who gave up her seat to fill a top U.S. State Department post, endorsed DeSaulnier as the candidate to replace her as our local representative in Washington, D.C.
But things got very complicated last week, when it was announced on Friday that the State Department had asked DeSaulnier to stop using Tauscher’s name in all his ads and campaign materials. This announcement was made public last Friday.
Nearly a week later, this brochure turns up in my mailbox. No postmark on it, so who knows when it was mailed? Before the endorsement ban? After?
DeSaulnier’s use of Tauscher’s endorsement doesn’t break any laws, but a legal advisor to the U.S. State Department explained why he should withdraw her name from his campaign materials: “Under Secretary Tauscher is committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct. To avoid even the appearance of impropriety, on behalf of Undersecretary Tauscher, I have asked Senator DeSaulnier to remove all references in his campaign material of any endorsement she may have made.”