Commander applauds new Stolen Valor Act

Less than three weeks after a resolution passed at the 94th National Convention of The American Legion called on Congress to introduce and approve a new Stolen Valor Act, the U.S. House of Representatives has done just that.

The revised legislation, which replaces a law signed in 2006 but struck down last June by the U.S. Supreme Court, sailed through the House by a 410-3 vote Thursday.

“The American Legion is impressed with Congress today,” American Legion National Commander James E. Koutz said. “Those who deliberately lie about military service, wear medals they did not earn or make claims of combat heroism they did not achieve are more than just liars. They are perpetrators of the worst kind of fraud. Their lies are an insult to all who have truly stood in harm’s way and earned their decorations. We raised this issue at our national convention, and the House acted.”

The Supreme Court ruled in June that the former Stolen Valor Act was unconstitutional because it violated the First Amendment right of free speech. The revision narrows the scope of the act, focusing on the fraud aspect and profiteering from lies of military achievement. The revised version reflects newly passed American Legion Resolution 238, which states in part: 

“False claims of military service and receipt of medals of valor have resulted in literally millions of dollars in fraudulent claims for VA services, as well as related costs of investigation by the VA, and law-enforcement agencies, to uncover false claims, all of which, ‘takes away valuable resources from those who are entitled.’” The full resolution can be read online.

Fines and up to one year of imprisonment would be imposed upon those convicted of the new Stolen Valor Act, if it passes the Senate and is signed by the president.

The American Legion, with 2.4 million members worldwide, is the nation’s largest veterans service organization.


  1. Served 1962-1965 in Army. Went to Korea but not Nam..never shot at or never shot at anybody. I loved the service and am glad to have served but don't consider myself a veteran. Don't use VA medical and feel it should be for those injured in combat. Know people in 2 years in USA and get disability for ears and back injuries...for nothing. Also hate it when they show up with decorations they should not wear and even wear them wrong...braids on wrong shoulders, etc. Has kept me from joining VFW am AM LGON. Am so thankful for all who have served and fought for our great country but despise the wanna be NAVY SEALS AND SPECIAL FORCES. Don't claim it if it isn't true.
  2. Sorry Jim Dorgan, Sr. But serving in the military does qualify you as a veteran. A veteran is any service member who completed his or her military service with an honorable or general discharge. This includes those who served during both peacetime and war with 180 days of active-duty service. It also includes members of the Reserves and the National Guard called up to active duty by the federal government, i.e., serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Establishing veteran status enables a person to access all benefits and services earned while serving the United States. Although membership in a VFW post has a requirement to have served in combat. Don't diminish the service of those that volunteered during a time that the US was not involved in any combat, or conflict. Those that did serve during those times are not "fake military"
  3. The "Stolen Valor Act" will probably not pass the Senate. Too many democrat Senators have lied or dishonored military service. Kerry & Blumenthal come to mind. God bless the U.S.A.
  4. National Commander Koutz articulated his assertion and justifiable accusation eloquently regarding individuals implicated in the "Stolen Valor Act." Koutz's appeal (representing that of the "... 94th National Convention of the American Legion" to Congress to "introduce" a "new" improved, Stolen Valor Act apparently did not fall entirely on "deaf ears." The Legion Convention was pleased with the House's response to pass a "measure" regarding a "bill" that hopefully with the Senate's approval, would result in an enactment of unison on the part of (a full) Congress. This would serve as a just compensation from the original, outrageous adjudication of the U.S. Supreme Court on its (original) erroneous decision of what does not constitute "Stolen Valor..."
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