Stolen Valor Act passes Senate, expected to be signed into law
Got word of this last night, much to my joy. From Air Force Times:
The Stolen Valor Act that makes it a federal crime to profit from falsely claiming to have received a military medal for valor is on its way to the White House for President Obama’s signature, thanks to the efforts of two Nevadans.
Sponsored by Rep. Joe Heck and Sen. Dean Heller, both Nevada Republicans, the bipartisan measure passed the Senate by unanimous consent on Wednesday after passing the House of Representatives on Monday.
Under the bill, it’s a federal crime to benefit from knowingly lying about receiving certain valorous military medals and awards. Maximum punishment would be a fine of up to $100,000 and up to one year in prison for each offense.
It does not apply to every medal. Specifically covered are the Medal of Honor, service crosses, Silver Star, Purple Heart and combat badges such as Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Combat Action Badge, Combat Medical Badge, Combat Action Ribbon, or Combat Action Medal.
Claiming to have received one of the awards becomes fraudulent if the liar obtains or tries to obtain money, property or some other tangible benefit. For example, claiming to be a combat veteran on a job application or to receive a government contract set aside for a veterans would be fraud, as would receiving unearned veterans’ disability or health benefits if any of the combat-related awards used to qualify for those benefits were falsely claimed.
Our press release went out this morning:
WASHINGTON (May 23, 2013) – The American Legion is praising Congress for passing the new Stolen Valor Act, which addresses areas that were previously ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
The new Stolen Valor Act would make it a crime to profit from lies about military awards and decorations, as opposed to the previous law which criminalized the wearing of unearned medals. If signed into law by President Obama as expected, this act will cover issues ranging from lying to receive veteran or health care benefits, to obtaining a government contract only eligible for a veteran- or service-disabled veteran owned business, or getting a job reserved for a veteran.
“Last night the United States Senate voted to pass the House version of the Stolen Valor Act by unanimous consent,” said James E. Koutz, national commander of The American Legion. “Within days it will be the law of the land once again. The American Legion is proud to have aided in its passage, and would like to especially thank Senators (Dean) Heller and (Jon)Tester for sponsoring and shepherding the bill through the Senate, and Representative (Joe) Heck for doing the same in the House.”
Noting that only three of the 535 Members of Congress voted in opposition, Koutz praised Congress for the overwhelming bipartisanship displayed.
“It is appropriate that Congress would work together to pass this important legislation as Americans prepare to celebrate their cherished fallen heroes on this Memorial Day. Both Majority Leader (Harry) Reid and Speaker (John) Boehner ensured that it received a quick vote, and for that we are very appreciative. We are confident that the concerns of the Supreme Court have been addressed and that this bill will pass constitutional muster.”
Delegates to The American Legion’s National Convention last August unanimously passed Resolution No. 27, which called for passage of this legislation.
With a current membership of 2.4-million wartime veterans, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 14,000 posts across the nation.