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Stolen Valor Act of 2013 signed into law

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Stolen Valor Act of 2013 signed into law

On June 3, President Barack Obama signed into law The American Legion-backed Stolen Valor Act of 2013, which now makes it a "federal crime for an individual to fraudulently hold oneself out to be a recipient of any of several specified military decorations or medals with the intent to obtain money, property, or other tangible benefit."  

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the original Stolen Valor Act of 2005, deeming it unconstitutional because it was, in the justices’ opinion, too broad in scope and violated the right of free speech. The Legion passed Resolution 283 during its 2012 National Convention, calling on Congress to amend the Stolen Valor Act of 2005, to provide that the elements of fraud be incorporated into previous Stolen Valor legislation. U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., and the Legion worked together to draft a new Stolen Valor Act that included this legal language in effort to meet the Supreme Court’s objections to the old Stolen Valor Act.

On Jan. 15, 2013, Heck introduced H.R.258, the Stolen Valor Act of 2013. The bill also criminalized the act of lying to gain unearned veterans health-care benefits or other rewards, such as employment reserved for veterans. And on May 20, the House of Representatives passed Heck’s bill by a vote of 390 to 3. Legion Commander James E. Koutz praised the overwhelming, bipartisan vote.

"The American Legion is impressed with Congress today," he 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."

On May 22, the Senate passed the legislation by unanimous consent. Senators Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., introduced the Senate companion bill (S. 210).

Both Heck and Heller rejoiced at the president’s signature. "I’m pleased that the valor and integrity of our military awards, along with the men and women who have earned them, are once again protected by law," Heck said. "It has been an incredibly rewarding process, and I thank all of those who have helped along the way in making this bill a law."

"I’m pleased that President Obama signed the Stolen Valor Act into law," Heller said. "The brave acts of the men and women in our military should be honored and protected. Thanks to the hard work of Rep. Heck and those who joined us in support of this issue, the recognition that these men and women earned will be preserved."

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Harold Warneck

July 13, 2014 - 12:11pm

I think it is a DISGRACE to those who truely fought and got wounded and earned their Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. SHAME on those who drive around with their license plate displaying a Bronze Star recipient and 40 some years later are trying to be awarded a Purple Heart based on a tiny speck they claim was a combat wound! GIVE ME A BREAK !!! I'll be dammed if he gets a Purple Heart !!!

Pepper Rae

July 1, 2014 - 12:18pm

I also know of a man who lies about his service to our country. Although he served in the US army in Vietnam repairing generators, he never served in a combat situation and in the past, even bragged that he spent his free time partying and visiting whorehouses. Now, he speaks before large crowds claiming to be a decorated combat veteran. He changed his look, grew out his hair to achieve the the "biker-style" persona of a disgruntled Vietnam veteran. In a previous query, I was told that serving in a foreign war in any capacity entitled a person to the same benefits as a combat veteran. Still, I find it so offensive to watch this miserable liar disgrace the real combat survivors that have given so much for our country...including my two sons, whom have both returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, after both doing two tours of duty. I wish there was some way ton stop him.

KJ Prefontaine

April 19, 2014 - 7:40pm

I personally know of an individual that resides in Rhode Island and tells all of his friends that he did two yours in Afganistan and was shot in the leg. His friends think of him as some kind of war hero. The fact is that he NEVER served overseas anywheres let alone two tours in Afganistan and being shot in the leg. He did in fact claim injury to his leg while serving in El Paso,Texas in the Army. However I know for a fact that he made his wife kick him in the leg repeatedly so as to claim injury while on active duty so he could get a medical discharge and receive a disability check every month from the VA. He also claimed having sleep apnea since being in the Army but he had that problem before joining the Army. He is nothing short of a fraud and a coward. If I wouldn't get in trouble for kicking his ass then I would do it in a heartbeat. I am a combat veteran that served in Vietnam while in the Marine Corps. I saw too much combat and had to bag and tag too many of my brothers to just let this SCUMBAG pass by without saying something about it.

asdfghjkl

December 12, 2013 - 8:23pm

cool

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