Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Senator Orrin Hatch Attacks Freedom Of Speech, Richard Blumenthal. Ignores Mark Kirk.

Here is an article by Andy Barr from Politico that I thought was interesting:
Sen. Orrin Hatch’s (R-Utah) bill making it illegal to air misleading public statements about one’s military service would not apply to Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), a spokeswoman for the senator indicated Tuesday.

Hatch’s Stolen Valor Act came in response to Democratic Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal’s admission that he had incorrectly said that he served in the Marines “in” Vietnam rather than “during” the Vietnam War.

The bill would make such misstatements punishable by up to six months in jail. But it would not likely apply to Kirk, who incorrectly claimed to have received the “Navy Intelligence Officer of the Year” award, Hatch spokeswoman Antonia Ferrier told POLITICO.

Hatch's amendment defines an offender as "whoever knowingly makes a fraudulent statement or representation, verbally or in writing, regarding the person's record of military service in the United States Armed Forces, including but not limited to, participation in combat operations, for the purposes of gaining recognition, honorarium, official office, or other position of authority."

“This amendment would make lying about serving in active duty in the military for the purposes of career advancement a misdemeanor,” Ferrier said.

Kirk's misstatement about the award did not specifically apply to active duty service, and Ferrier did not prejudge whether the law would or wouldn’t apply to the Republican senate candidate.

“It is a crime to dishonor the sacrifice of so many by falsely representing combat service for the purposes of self-promotion or benefit,” Hatch said when he made his proposal. “My amendment would deter those who would falsely prop themselves up in order to appear worthy of the award and title of ‘combat veteran.’”
Conveniently, the Republican's proposed bill would supposedly not apply to his fellow Republican that lied about his service.  The law that was inspired by Democrat Richard Blumenthal's misstatements, in my opinion, would be found unconstitutional.  I understand that in some states, lying on your resume can result in charges of fraud for misrepresenting your credentials, but Hatch's proposal is obviously political.

I would like to point out that Hatch's office would be wrong in stating that Kirk would not be affected by the bill.  As Terry Welch pointed out from Nitpicker, Kirk had previously stated that he was deployed in Iraq, when clearly he wasn't - that would be "falsely representing combat service for the purposes of self-promotion or benefit."  Welch detailed Kirk's lies:
He claimed to have won an award he didn't. He did not deploy to Iraq, but claimed to be a veteran of Iraqi Freedom. He claimed to have deployed to Afghanistan when he used his connections to spend two weeks in 2008 and 2009 in Afghanistan, which does not meet the Navy's definition of "deployment" and, in my view, mocks those who spent six to eighteen months in combat zones.
Why should Hatch stop there?  Lets make laws designed to discourage those from making incorrect statements to advance a political agenda, but that won't fly - doing so would result in bill of attainder against organizations like Fox News...

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