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Candidate’s use of logos questioned

Albracht needs to get agencies’ permission first

Published: Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012 1:46 a.m. CDT
Bill Albracht

STERLING – No one disputes that Republican state Senate candidate Bill Albracht served in the Secret Service and the U.S. Army Special Forces.

The question is whether he can use those agencies’ logos to promote his political campaign.

Albracht is running against state Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, for the 36th District, which includes most of Whiteside County.

The top of Albracht’s website reads, “Bill Albracht for State Senate: Courage-Integrity-Leadership.” The title is flanked by logos from the Secret Service and the Special Forces.

Government logos aren’t subject to copyrights, but people generally are not supposed to use them without permission, according to USA.gov.

In particular, the Secret Service says that its logo is in the public domain, but that it may not be used in advertisements or other media to imply the agency’s endorsement or approval without written permission of the agency’s director.

Albracht’s campaign manager, Rachel Bold, said her candidate is a highly decorated veteran.

“Those logos weren’t meant to imply an endorsement. Nobody had complained about it,” she said. “We’ll be adding a disclaimer.”

She said Albracht didn’t have time for an interview.

An online search found few problems nationwide with the use of government logos in campaigns, although it’s been a controversy in some sheriff’s campaigns. Sheriffs occasionally have been criticized for campaigning while in uniform.

Jacobs said that he had the “utmost respect” for the Secret Service and the military but that candidates shouldn’t use government agencies’ logos for their political gain.

“There are standards for ethical conduct,” Jacobs said. “He is trying to use the Secret Service to promote himself. He doesn’t have clearance from the government. It’s a misuse of government property.”

In 1967, Albracht, a Rock Island native, was commissioned as a second lieutenant at 19. He went into the U.S. Army Special Forces. At 21, he was the youngest captain to command combat troops during the Vietnam War, according to his campaign website.

He received two Silver Stars for gallantry in action, three Purple Hearts, five Bronze Stars and awards for combat valor.

“Bill is one of the most highly decorated veterans in the state of Illinois,” his website says.

He later became a special agent in the Secret Service, protecting several presidents.

The election is Nov. 6.

Edgard endorses Albracht

MOLINE – Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar on Wednesday endorsed fellow Republican Bill Albracht in the 36th state Senate District race.

“When I took office, the state was in rough shape financially and some hard decisions had to be made,” Edgar said.  “It was hard fought, but when I left office Illinois had a budget surplus. 

"The problems that our state now faces are not insurmountable, but it’s going to take strong leadership to solve them. Bill Albracht will be the leader that the 36th District needs in Springfield,” Edgar said in a news release.

Albracht is running against state Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline. The 36th District includes most of Whiteside County.

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