Brown Pushes Stolen Valor Act, Addresses Senate
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
The bill was introduced in October 2011, and Brown’s recent action is in response to the Supreme Court’s overturning of the 2005 version of the legislation last week on the grounds that it infringed on free speech. The Stolen Valor Act of 2005 made it a crime to lie about military service and awards.
Brown addressed the Senate this morning regarding the bill, saying, “As many of you know the Supreme Court recently struck it down. As a 32-year member of the Army National Guard, I feel very strongly about this issue and believe we need a federal law to keep people from benefiting and stealing the valor from our men and women in uniform.”
Brown called for Congress to work together on something that “makes complete sense.” In the 2011 bill, Brown said there will be a key change to protect free speech.
“It will be specific to individuals intention of obtaining anything of value,” he said. “You actually get something of value with these misrepresentations. Heck (Congressman Joseph Heck) and I, held a press conference to start a fresh campaign. Within a few hours, we gained 27 sponsors.”
The 2011 version of the act would make changes to the Stolen Valor Act of 2005 by punishing individuals who misrepresent their military service in order to profit. Based on the Supreme Court’s ruling, the legislation would be constitutional because it focuses on those who seek to benefit from their misrepresentations.
“The pentagon also said they would make a huge step to deter con artists by creating a database to check,” Brown said. “Today I wrote President Obama to get his public endorsement on the bill. I’m hopeful that the commander in chief will lend his voice to this cause and give his blessing so we can get to work on something that will pass.”
“As bipartisan support grows, I ask those who haven’t to get on board. It’s time. We’re tired of the frauds out there perpetuating fraud,” Brown said. “If we choose to come together and pass this, we can respond with the urgency that this issue deserves. We can send a message to the American people that we can do things together.”
“The Supreme Court laid down a marker in its recent decision on Stolen Valor, but it also left the door open to valid Congressional action,” Heck, a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves said. “I believe that we must defend the valor of those who have served our country but also that we must protect the very liberties for which our service men and women sacrificed. The Stolen Valor Act of 2011 would achieve both objectives and Congress should move quickly to pass this legislation.”
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