Suffice it to say that we noticed who was sitting in the crowd at the first presidential debate in the swing state of Colorado on October 3. Right there in the front row next to Lt. Governor Joe Garcia, Senator Michael Bennet and First Lady Michelle Obama was our very own Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar.
Given that Salazar hails from Colorado, it made sense that the back-bench member of the President’s Cabinet was in Denver that night to support his boss.
Once Governor Mitt Romney’s trouncing of President Obama concluded, a gaggle of current and former Colorado politicians jumped on an RV and went on a tour of Colorado to fire up Democrats in (mostly) Republican leaning counties. The tour was important enough that Lt. Governor Joe Garcia walked out of a Colorado Commission on Higher Education meeting to catch the bus in time.
Whistle-stop tours such as this one are common place and they can be expected this time of year. However, Secretary Ken Salazar committed a Hatch Act violation when he allowed his official title as Secretary of the Interior to be injected in to these political rallies in places like Grand Junction and Montrose. Heck, a quick click on the Montrose County Democrats website shows a great picture of Mr. Salazar with his official title embossed right on it (although we doubt it will be up too much longer).
Taken in isolation, we concede that this isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things. However, when you add this most recent violation to those committed by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a troubling pattern of Obama lieutenants using their positions of power to campaign for their boss in swing states begins to emerge.
Given the woes of Secretary Sebelius, we would assume that the rocket scientists in the West Wing would issue specific dictates to cabinet secretaries about what they can and can’t do on the stump. While that may have happened, perhaps Mr. Salazar figured he could slip one past the goalie in the hinter-lands of Colorado.
Fortunately for our readers – and unfortunately for Mr. Salazar – The Observer covers the entire state and we noticed this glaring infraction (the partisans at Colorado Ethics Watch, however, have not).
Mr. Salazar may owe the American people more than an apology — and the proper authorities need to investigate the Colorado campaign swing as soon as possible.