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Democrats Charge GOP Wrongly Used Signature and Seal

September 26, 1986

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee says its GOP counterpart misused the official U.S. seal on partisan mailings, and may have violated fraud laws by using a facsimile of a Pennsylvania congressman’s signature.

But the Republicans said Friday that the bird in the seal they used was not the real eagle.

In a letter to Attorney General Edwin Meese, DCCC Chairman Tony Coelho said the Great Seal was wrongly used on political ″hit pieces″ authored by the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Rep. Coelho, D-Calif., cited mailings on behalf of GOP Pennsylvania congressional candidates Marc Holtzman and Ernie Buckman. On the cover of both political brochures is a likeness of the Great Seal of the United States, whose chief feature is an American bald eagle with its wings raised.

The seal is normally used on official government documents to attest to their authenticity.

But the NRCC said that it simply used a variation of the seal.

″This is not the Great Seal,″ said spokeswoman Barbara Pardue. Unlike the version the GOP used, the eagle in the Great Seal has a ribbon in its beak and a cloud above its head, she said.

Also objectionable, according to Coelho, is that the signature of Holtzman’s opponent, Democratic Rep. Paul Kanjorski, appears in the upper left hand corner of the cover page of the GOP brochure. The signature looks similar to the one that appears on the upper right hand side of Kanjorski’s own official mail.

″We’ve never seen copies of signatures before, and that raises some serious questions about fraud and forgery,″ said Mark Johnson of the DCCC.

″Clearly, Paul Kanjorski did not sign it. It’s clearly designed to make the recipient think it’s a piece of official mail from their congressman,″ he said.

The name of the NRCC and its Washington address also appear in the corner next to Kanjorski’s name.

Ms. Pardue said she had no comment on the use of the signature. Holtzman spokesman Joe McMonigle referred calls on the matter to to the NRCC and said the complaint typified how Kanjorski was ″complaining and protesting instead of addressing real issues.″

The GOP mailings presented ″report cards″ on Kanjorski and Rep. Doug Walgren, Buckman’s opponent in the November election.

The two Democrats were rated ″Fs″ on such subjects as ″jobs″ and ″strong national defense.″

Coelho’s letter asked Meese to halt such mailings immediately.

Holtzman’s candidacy has drawn national attention because of his youth - he’s 26 - and his ties to the Reagan administration. He briefly shared an apartment with Meese in 1981.

Coelho’s letter to Meese said: ″I trust you will take appropriate steps to assure impartiality on this complaint in light of your personal relationship with Mr. Holtzman.″

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