Stolen Valor Act 2012

| June 30, 2012

So, I’m still pretty angry about the Supreme Court’s decision the other day. During the deliberation a few months ago, the justices admitted that there was actually harm committed by valor thieves, but then they ruled in their favor. I still think that only reason people, justices, lawyers think that stealing valor is only free speech is because they think it makes them sound smart.

As Doug Sterner and I pointed out to the ABC News crew and the St. Louis Tribune the other day, using Greg Schaffer as an example, we first reported on Schaffer in April, by June he had raped a 15-year-old girl. If authorities had arrested him for Stolen Valor, that teen wouldn’t have been raped.

My inbox is filling up with emails from stolen valor thieves who are tap dancing on the grave of the SVA/2005. Just today, Mary emailed us a celebratory exclamation from Jonathon the Dick Inhaler Sharkey;

How about that ruling yesterday from the US Supreme Court? I can just imagine how many people are about to sue you. I thought about it, but my attorney told me, by the time you get done settling all your lawsuits, you won’t have anything.

Of course, Sharkey missed the whole point of the court’s decision. The USSC decided that the public sector is doing a fine job of policing the ranks. There may be some illiterate f*cks, like Sharkey who think that the USSC’s overturning of the Stolen Valor Act means that we can’t do here what the government won’t do – but that’s not it at all. Like I told the ABC crew, it probably means that decision was good for our business. More idiots, like Sharkey, think they can get away with their thievery.

But This Ain’t Hell and all of our partners are the stocks and dunking chairs in the village square of the internet – a place where folks can come and throw rotten tomatoes at the valor thieves. The Supreme Court gave us a warrant to be the internet’s vigilantes and bounty hunters.

But on to phase two of the Stolen Valor Act. Nevada Republican Joe Heck is sponsoring HR 1775 which will make illegal profiting from stolen valor. You can read the whole bill here, but the main part amends Chapter 47 of title 18, United States Code;

§ 1041. Certain misrepresentations about military service.

(a) OFFENSE.—Whoever, with intent to obtain anything of value, knowingly makes a misrepresentation regarding his or her military service, shall—

(1) if the misrepresentation is that such individual served in a combat zone, served in a special operations force, or was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both; and

(2) in any other case, be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both.

(b) EXCEPTION FOR DENIAL OF SERVICE.—Sub20 section (a) does not apply to a misrepresentation that an individual did not serve in the Armed Forces of the United States.

The bill goes on to criminalize lying about rank, combat service and other decorations besides the Medal of Honor if those lies are used for tangible gain. Of course, it’s a lawyer-employment opportunity because “thing of value” will be subject to interpretation. Jonathon Turley’s defense of stolen valor’s free speech aspect as pickup lines in a bar still results in a “thing of value” to some people.

But you need to call your Congressman to jump on the Stolen Valor train by supporting Congressman Heck’s HR 1775 and tell your Senator to join in on S.1782 introduced by Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown.

Category: Stolen Valor Act

Comments (23)

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  1. Aviationgrl says:

    I called my congressman – I spoke to Washington DC. This pisses me off on so many levels. I had an idiot compare lying on a resume’ to lying about a Medal. I “Came off the top rope” to put it mildly. I am devoting a page on my website to it. Poe, The Subway Shop Commando, they are NOT harmless. These dumb fuckers build reputations and businesses on something that is awarded for valor. The military brothers and sisters who have truly earned the right to wear these did not get a cash reward, they did not get a celebration, they probably lost many friends, or limbs, or more. The only thing they have to show for such bravery is the medal that symbolizes such a sacrifice. In my opinion this is wrong. This sends the message even to our children that “It is not only OK to lie- but it is LEGAL”.
    This is wrong on a very fundamental level. This issue is more than dumb shmucks at the bar trying to lie to a girl to pick her up. These are con men who use this honor to their advantage.
    I am appalled and disgusted. I am all for the first amendment but this does NOT cut both ways. Dumbasses use it to further reputations, careers, and more.

  2. Aviationgrl says:

    and yes- I will be meeting with my congressman! Sam Johnson. As a Marine veteran who served honorably 8 years I feel it is my obligation to speak out. I have no Silver Star, nor do I lie about having one. This is for those who have earned it.
    I am done. You can tell I am pissed about this.

  3. Strain says:

    The way I see it, this has never been a free speech issue, this is about fraud – plain and simple. Every person lying about service or valor is trying to get something, whether it be money, power, or fame – and most times they are already committing fraud.

  4. DR_BRETT says:

    Good Report, Mr. Lilyea (as is usual) .

    “. . . they think it makes them sound smart.” —
    The supreme Court (using the Constitution’s capitalization method) should better think THROUGH TO THE END, and should BE smart and should PROVE IT — by means of good examples, for instance.
    (Antonin “Scalawag” Scalia, and Clarence Thomas are my usual favorites.)

    “. . . pickup lines in a bar . . .” —
    You mean, when I discuss picking up the tab ??

    I telephoned the REP’s Staff yesterday .

    “VIGIL-ANTE” — vigilant, before .
    All right — ANTE UP !!

  5. Poetrooper says:

    That must be some dumbass lawyer Sharkey has, if he even has one. As any first year law student could tell you, truth is a solid defense against libel and slander suits. In order for a moron like Sharkey to prevail in a lawsuit he’d have to prove that the military record he is claiming is true and that TAH lied by claiming he’s not entitled to wear the medals, badges and awards.

    Lots of luck to any of you phonies out there who think you’re going to be able to sue those who’ve exposed you. But then, you gotta be a real dumbass to pull that wannabee crap to start with and believe you’re not going to get caught eventually.

  6. A Marine says:

    Keep fighting the good fight TAH! I served in Iraq and proudly claim the CAR that was awarded to me even though I feel we didn’t really see enough to rate it. However, I was awarded and therefore wear it, but I would never dishonor those who earned awards of Valor by ever claiming such an honor I didn’t rate!

    Hammer them, Hammer them hard and keep hammering!

    Semper Fi!

  7. Ex-PH2 says:

    Doesn’t it just add another nail to the coffin of committing fraud for profit, with a more specific wording? Arson for profit is a felony, and if it costs peoples’ lives, that adds homicide to a felony charge.

    Also, isn’t there a pension attached to the Medal of Honor? Someone claiming that to gain monetarily from it are committing the worst kind of fraud.

    There is a disability compensation award for service-connected disability, which is non-taxable. The VA is picky about giving 100%.

    I have nothing but the National Defense Service Medal. I’ve moved so many times since 1974 that I have no idea where it went. It doesn’t mean I’m going to fudge my service record just to glam up. I don’t have to.

  8. Flagwaver says:

    I find it interesting that he threatened you like that. You have not arrested anyone, so you are doing nothing more than you have done before… why would anyone sue you now?

    I think he was just talking out of his fourth point of contact.

    With you being a lawyer now, isn’t it harassment to threaten to sue someone without provocation?

  9. Damn Jonn; What an apt turn of phrase: But This Ain’t Hell and all of our partners are the stocks and dunking chairs in the village square of the internet – a place where folks can come and throw rotten tomatoes at the valor thieves.

    Wish I’d said that!

  10. Anonymous says:

    They want to sue Jonn for exercising his freedom of speech for calling out posers? It just doesn’t make sense. Keep up the good work!

  11. AW1 Tim says:

    Feel free to add me to the list of defendants, Jonn. I’m proud to be associated with TAH and to do whatever part I can to beating down the fakes & frauds.


  12. CK HMCS(FMF) says:


    You and the other (especially the POW Network) do a tremendous job in going after these “Rice Paddy Daddy” wannabes (no slam on my fellow vets that have served honorably in any of our country’s conflicts – that was a term I heard years ago that was used to describe wannabes). Many of our comrades have paid dearly while in the service of our nation… and these fakers seem to think that by “embellishing” their service or in the case of those that are masquerading as servicemebers, dishonoring the uniform that we have worn. It hurts when I read about those people, and the stigma it puts on our community.

    I’ve always felt that for the most part, vets usually don’t say a lot about their service… it’s a quiet honor that we hold close to our hearts. Whenever I hear someone bragging about their time in the military, I usually cringe… it’s almost like I get the feeling that they are trying to brag about what they did, and that’s when they embellish their stories… and crap starts getting out of hand.

  13. Ex-PH2 says:

    I think a lot of people have your back, JL.

  14. Casey says:

    @7, the problem is that most of those goobers don’t get money out of the deal; they get respect, admiration, and fame.

    This is why -and not because they like to sound smart- SCOTUS overturned the law. I myself accept the fraud argument, but the Court worked from a more-narrow argument. One may argue this is a technicality, but when you get down to it that’s what laws are; technical points based on the language of the written word.

    The above reasoning is also what drives Rep. Heck’s new bill, which is more narrowly-frame. This will (hopefully) pass scrutiny.

  15. Sniper says:

    Check out the Houston Chronicle 06/30/2012. Paul Arthur Schroeder indicted for violating Title 18 USC 498.

  16. Jonathon the Impaler Sharkey says:

    You guys this me the greatest favor by printing my name, and of course all your comments. My wife was getting a little too close of the Hollywood rankings to me, so this should secure I defeat her Monday morning when the new rankings are posted.

    I also enjoy getting interview request because of the stuff you write. See, if I was to show you the proof, you’d stop writing about me. So, I show the media and don’t let them keep the paperwork. You learn about keeping people talking about once you’ve been to school in Hollywood.

    Joan didn’t tell you I am denouncing my US citizenship for a Russian one. Who wants to be on the Titantic Obama when its sinks? Not me. Did you know a lot of Americans are denouncing their citizenship and becoming Russia citizens? 13% flat tax rate and a badass president are partially the reasons why.

    I hope you’ll have fun with Obama and his Muslim brotherhood when he is re-elected.

    Hail Russia and Putin!

    PS make sure you keep out my movie when it is released on 10 Jul 12. Well, its actually my wife’s movie.

  17. Hiernonymous says:

    I think the court got it right. We are dorked as a society if every unsavory behavior is an issue for the police and courts rather than social stigma. I think you guys are doing a great job, but I think it’s you, not the cops, that should keep doing it. Keep it up!

  18. Ex-PH2 says:

    I want to understand this properly. If a crime (such as rape of a minor) is committed as an accompaniment to making false clams about service and/or awards, the crime would hold more weight than the false claims. Is that correct?

  19. Ex-PH2 says:

    Great. Fumblefingers again. That should be ‘claims’, not ‘clams’.

  20. Jonn Lilyea says:

    See, Mister The Dick Inhaler, no one cares about your idiot blather.

  21. Flagwaver says:

    Wow, I’ve known fifth graders with better grammar and sentence structure. Not to mention, he must be mentally incompetent to think that “his paperwork” is different/better than what can be requested with a FOIA.

    All this means is that, when the law is tightened a little and passed, he will be the first against the wall. Oh, wait. He is going to Russia. So, if he DID actually have a security clearance, he should be getting a knock at the door from a nice man in a business suit with a badge. At least, that would be if his story weren’t a steaming pile of horse shit.