House passes revamped Stolen Valor Act
A Medal of Honor on display. A new bill moving through Congress could ban profiting from wearing this and other medals you have not earned. (DoD Photo)
September 13th, 2012
08:04 PM ET

House passes revamped Stolen Valor Act

By Larry Shaughnessy

The U.S. House of Representatives Thursday overwhelmingly passed a new version of the Stolen Valor Act, a bill aimed at people who lie about receiving military medals and then attempt to profit from the deception.

The first version of the Stolen Valor Act was struck down by the Supreme Court as a violation of the First Amendment.

The bill focuses not on people who lie about having medals they didn't earn, but on any profits they make from lying about the medals, which is essentially criminal fraud.

Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nevada) sponsored the new bill. His office issued a release saying the bill passed by a vote of 410-3.

Heck said in a floor speech this week that the bill would survive judicial review because it resolves the "constitutional issues by clearly defining that the objective of the law is to target and punish those who misrepresent the alleged service with the intent of profiting personally or financially."

The bill targets those who falsely claim to have earned certain major military decorations, including the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, Air Force Cross, Silver Star, Purple Heart or a medal signifying you served in combat.

A similar bill is moving through the Senate, but has not reached a floor vote yet.

soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. billy

    politicians do love to get behind largely pointless but seemingly patriotic legislation when times are tough.
    does wonders to distract the voters.

    can another attempt at a flag burning amendment be far behind?

    September 18, 2012 at 8:21 am | Reply
    • CTed

      Still won't pass muster. Free speech is still violated. I can lie on my resume to my employer and it's not a criminal act as far as I can tell. This is criminalizing a very specific lie when other lies that people make money from all the time are not criminalized (see advertising).

      I assume just like advertising companies it is just a small fine if you lie about this right?

      September 18, 2012 at 9:55 am | Reply
      • whorhay

        Not all speech is protected. And besides this isn't just about speech. False Advertising is in fact illegal, our system is just horrendous at policing it. If you form a contract with someone and make false claims in it you are liable criminally and civily, otherwise perjury wouldn't be a crime either.

        September 18, 2012 at 11:08 am |
      • Tim

        I don't quite think so. If I give you money, support or a job because of your claimed status as a medaled veteran, you have defrauded me.

        September 18, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  2. Rebecca

    I want to see the statistics on how large of a problem this actually is. I have a hunch it's right up there with the incidence of in-person voter fraud. It would be great if Congress did something that was of any importance in their two years in office. Ah well, wishful thinking.

    September 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Reply
  3. Howard

    Why take it one step further and use free speech to advantage. Authorize the Pentagon to investigate any false claims, and if they're proven, take out full page newspaper ads with the picture of the liar and label him in big bold letters for what he is? Bringing public humiliation and even possible retribution down on these phony heroes would be a heck of deterrent.

    September 17, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Reply
    • USMC

      cost money to advertise that in a paper. just given them their fair day in court and sentence them.

      September 17, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Reply
      • rp1588

        It probably costs a lot more to prosecute, convict, and carry out sentence. This is a dominance issue; there are already laws against fraud.

        September 17, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
      • USMC

        It is called due process. We are going to spend the money one way or another on a trial. Has nothing to do with dominance. it is breaking the law.

        September 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  4. Lou Cypher

    Politicians can send citizens to die for lies, and lie about that too,
    but citizens cannot lie about dying for lies,
    you just have to tell the truth about whether you were dying for lies or not,
    okay I think I have it straight now.

    September 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Reply
    • USMC

      Lou, it is more than lying, it is lying for profit. Gaining an advantage for money, a job or other benefit for falsely portraying military service should be crime. It is more than lying on a resume.

      September 17, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Reply
  5. Liberace; America's Greatest American

    Whenever I'm out on the town, I like to wear my fake medals. It assures that my salad will get tossed in every gAy bar in town.

    September 15, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Reply
  6. Joe 0302

    If I ran a Marathon under 3hours I 'D remember the place and year.
    So Ryan,had a number and his time had to be published.

    September 14, 2012 at 11:34 am | Reply
  7. MOCaseA

    I was threatened with the original SVA at a previous job I held. I had just returned from a voluntary deployment and was talking to some of the guys about the service awards I had received, awards they themselves had qualified for, but due to paperwork or lazy supervisors, had never received. I was telling them how to submit the paperwork to receive their awards, when one of the supervisors overheard and thought I was talking about myself. Next thing I know I'm standing in from of the area lead being told that they were going to report me. Instead of listening to the truth, they insisted I was trying to "steal valor" for things I didn't do, when what I truly didn't do was try to steal any valor. Needless to say, I found a different employer in a hurry.

    The original Act was poorly thought out, poorly written, and abuseable by those who had no problems using it against the veterans on their staff. This new "revamp" is much more specific and will allow for better enforcement of the original intent of the Act.

    September 14, 2012 at 7:11 am | Reply
  8. Doyle Wiley, MI

    What we need is a law that makes it punishable when U.S. politicians lie to the U.S. public.

    September 14, 2012 at 6:44 am | Reply
    • Bob Fates from Chicago

      An unenforceable law, as every politician is a born liar.

      September 15, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Reply
    • Nathan

      Oh yeah? And who enforces the law? Oh right: politicians and appointed judges. Probably from the opposite party.

      September 17, 2012 at 11:47 am | Reply
    • Jack Be Humble

      But politicians do not intend that the things they say are statements of fact. Often, they are just trying to illustrate the point they are making by making references to things they believe will influence the parties involved to agree with them.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Reply
  9. Alex

    I am sort of confused by why people would be bothered by this. Please look up the case of Keith Roberts, who LIED about being at a certain place and a certain time in Vietnam, where he claimed he witnessed the death of a particular person. He was awarded service connection for PTSD and given a 100% rating (which is almost $3000/month TAX FREE). He wanted an earlier effective date and called the Inspector General to complain. They investigated and found out he was not there when this person died. But at that time, he had already received more than $250,000 in benefits. He LIED about his Vietnam service and received a substantial amount of compensation. I dont' know about you, but that is incredibly bothersome to a tax payer like myself.

    September 14, 2012 at 6:27 am | Reply
    • AceRyder

      Wouldn't your examples behaviour ALREADY be illegal with a new law to deal with this?

      September 17, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Reply
    • Tim

      With or without this legislation, isn't that criminal fraud?

      September 18, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Reply
  10. Dave

    Does this apply to picking up women in bars?

    September 14, 2012 at 3:01 am | Reply
  11. Mack

    How many jobs will this create? Fire them all.

    September 13, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Reply
  12. StanCalif

    Is this the best they can do?? Unfortunately, we cannot expect much more! Stupid politicians who will sell out our country just to win an election! Why not deal with real and important issues? Oh no! Can't do this!

    September 13, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Reply
    • Bob Fates from Chicago

      And still, you'll vote for the idiot of your choice. And in the end it won't matter – same sh!t, different pile.

      September 15, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Reply
  13. Dann DFW

    Are the Republicans who voted for this going to be challenged by Tea Party candidates next election cycle as punishment for cooperating with Democrats?

    September 13, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Reply
  14. Mack

    How about lying about your marathon times?

    September 13, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Reply
    • 26.2

      It's wrong to lie about your marathon time, but perfectly acceptable to exaggerate the force of the head wind you ran into all day, thus slowing your time.

      September 13, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Reply

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.