A new mail piece sent by Republican Allen Weh to voters this week featured just one picture: Allen Weh in his United States Marine uniform.
Appearing in uniform, even for retired service members, is against DOD policies and frequently gets candidates in hot water with veterans groups and the Department of Defense.
Esquire’s politics blog called out other military veterans for doing the same, and violating the rules, in 2010:
…it seems a lot of would-be politicians who’ve spent time in the military are breaking the 2008 DoD rule (see section 220.127.116.11 here) that makes it illegal for any veteran to “use or allow the use of photographs, drawings, and other similar media formats of themselves in uniform as the primary graphic representation in any campaign media, such as a billboard, brochure, flyer, Web site, or television commercial.” (There’s also a secondary rule (18.104.22.168, same document) that requires incidental use to be accompanied by a disclaimer stating that the image does not imply DoD endorsement.)
Also in 2010, the Marine Corps ordered another candidate to withdraw an ad in which he appeared in uniform promising to repeal Obamacare.
But who holds veterans accountable to these rules? There doesn’t seem to be any formal process for complaint or discipline. Only a veteran’s honor and obligation to follow the rules.