[Update 8/14/19: Mesa County Commissioner candidate Janet Rowland pulled this ad from her Facebook page after this article was published].
People are questioning whether an ad that Mesa County Commissioner candidate Janet Rowland recently posted on her campaign Facebook page violates the law.
In the ad, Colorado Mesa University President Tim Foster endorses Rowland for commissioner in his capacity as president of CMU, not as a private individual as the law requires. The law says Foster is permitted to make such an endorsement, but ONLY in his capacity as a private individual; he is specifically prohibited from using his position as a state employee for politicking or attempting to influence an election.
The ad appears to violate two separate federal laws: the Hatch Act and the Fair Campaign Practices Act.
Technical guidance issued for state employees by the Colorado’s Division of Human Resources (pdf) on the implementation of these laws states,
“The Hatch Act limits the political activities of individuals employed in state departments and higher education institutions (departments) that have programs financed in whole or in part by federal loans or grants.”
CMU accepts federal funding, thus Foster is subject to both laws.