Paul Uses Troops, Violates Campaign Rules


Full disclosure: I’m a Paul supporter. I say that as an American, not as a representative of any armed force. I don’t agree with everything he thinks, but I believe in the Constitution and THAT is my thermometer for judging candidates. Only because I know how the political system works can I not be worried about his crazy thoughts that I don’t agree with. But, this post isn’t about whether or not Paul is a good candidate or would make a good president. I’m not going to argue that.

There are things that Ron Paul and his supporters are doing that are simply beginning to get under my skin. He is using the military to further his political ambitions, even though he wants to gut us. In a recent campaign flyer, Paul used an image of troops that appear to either be in a combat zone or a training environment; doesn’t matter, the troops were in uniform.

Department of Defense Directive 1344.10 specifically states:

A member of the Armed Forces on active duty may…register, vote, and express a personal opinion on political candidates and issues, but not as a representative of the Armed Forces…[and may]…Attend partisan and nonpartisan political fundraising activities, meetings, rallies, debates, conventions, or activities as a spectator when not in uniform and when no inference or appearance of official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement can reasonably be drawn.

A member of the Armed Forces on active duty shall not…Attend partisan political events as an official representative of the Armed Forces, except as a member of a joint Armed Forces color guard at the opening ceremonies of the national conventions of the Republican, Democratic, or other political parties recognized by the Federal Elections Committee or as otherwise authorized by the Secretary concerned.

Now, having read what I quoted above (or what you read if you went to the entire link), take a look at this recent campaign flyer Paul sent out:

These guys are obviously in the military as their all wearing the OCP (Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern) uniform. They also appear to be in a tent, which furthers the assumption that these guys are representing the Army. One could easily argue that these Soldiers didn’t know the photo would be used in a campaign flyer and that they did nothing wrong. Fine, but then there is this interview of Army Reserve Combat Engineer CPL Jesse Thorsen out of Des Moines, Iowa that is a BLATANT violation:


Look, I got that a lot of troops support. I’m one of them. But, we don’t need to be getting stupid with it. It’s like we’re Paul’s personal shock troops. He’s a man that doesn’t make you immune from punishment for violating the rules. These Soldiers can’t use the weekend warrior excuse if they’re wearing the uniform. Once you put that uniform on, you represent the United States Army, whether you’re National Guard, Army Reserve, or active status.

After this interview, Paul invited Thorsen onstage and explain why Thorsen support the candidate…IN UNIFORM! Paul should know better than that. There is nothing wrong with Thorsen working on Paul’s campaign since he’s a reservist, but doing the interview and then appearing on stage with the candidate in uniform was a blatant violation. And it looks like he’ll justly be punished for it:

Army reservist who appeared in uniform on national television in support of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul during Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses could face harsh penalties from the Defense Department for violating military rules against politicking.

Service officials confirmed Wednesday that they are looking into possible violations of the department’s rules governing troops’ political participation by Cpl. Jesse Thorsen, an Iowa-based reservist.

My buddy, Joel Arends, from Veterans for a Strong America, weighed in as well.

“We need troops and veterans at the table, and we need them to be part of the election process,” he said. “But we don’t need troops to be violating regulations. It’s all about common sense, and most troops understand that we cannot mix the use of a military uniform with political campaigns.”

Ironically, I was debating with Joel just a couple of days about about the flier above when he sent out a press release criticizing it. We ended up agreeing on most of the violations, but now that I’m talking about it publicly I want him to know I support his efforts to expose what Paul is doing wrong in using troops to further his campaign objectives.

Disclaimer: These are my opinions and my opinions alone. I support Ron Paul as an American from Texas, not as a representative of any Armed Force or government. If you don’t like my opinion or my voting preferences, sucks to be you. Take out your pacifier and put on some big boy shoes. Welcome to greatest country on earth: The United States of America!

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This may actually explain why CNN cut the newsfeed on him and later FOX did the same; on the RP forums people were all up in arms about it, but it’s quite possible that the news organizations have a standing policy of cutting off military people in uniform who start in on endorsing a candidate. It would be a way of a) helping them stay out of trouble and b) not being complicit in the violation. Not that the news organizations (or the campaign) have a *legal* obligation to not use this kind of footage, but taking advantage of someone’s willingness to violate military rules is pretty poor.

CNN said a technical glitch cut off their feed.

But I want to commend you, CJ, for standing firm on the law even if it might hurt someone you support.
This is all too rare a quality.
Good for you.

I hope Ron Paul learns that he is hurting himself when he fudges on the edges of the laws.
What he did was very disappointing.
He should have known better.

I appreciate the proper thinking.

Thank you CJ… All he had to do was take off his uniform. He then could have voiced any opinion on his mind, of course none of the MSM’s would have given him a second glance.

CJ, I appreciate your integrity.

Two other practices of the Paul campaign that bother me:

1) Moving money between his PAC and his non-profits gives the appearance of violating campaign finance laws:

2) Photobombing other candidates isn’t illegal, but it’s petty, rude and mean-spirited:

Yes, it’s the act of a private individual who supports Paul, but why is Paul’s Revolution PAC praising this “performance vandalism?”

As a former officer in the Canadian Engineers, I know from the Queen’s Regs and Ordinance, one cannot appear in uniform or in civies in any political activity without risking a dishonorable discharge. This includes the reserves.
You can vote and that about it for politics. One thing I find deplorable is the fact that some active personnel miss out on voting because ballots are not always readily available, and I blame the system that purposely causes this disenfranchisement. You folks know why!

Any Paul supporters care to try to explain what he meant when he said we were now all becoming “Austrians?”

Glenn Beck video clip regarding Ron Paul:

Thanks for your honesty, CJ. As was pointed out here at FA on another thread, RP is using the fact that since statistically he has received more donations from the US military than any other GOP candidate, that the majority of military personnel support him. That is just not the truth. He does enjoy support from the military, but then so do the other candidates, and the majority of military personnel don’t support any single candidate.

The thing that has bothered me about Ron Paul and his campaign is this cult of personality that has sprung up around him. I am a pretty staunch conservative and believe me when I tell you that I have been called everything from a socialist to an Alinsky-ite when I dared to criticize the man.

It was creepy when the cult of personality helped get Obama elected (I mean come on, folks passing out at his speeches??) and it is creepy now with RP.

@Nan G: #7,

NanG, good catch. R. Paul’s “Austrian” reference seemed to appear to be ‘clever’, but the attempt likely fell flat on much of the audience since most people are too busy earning a living and feeding their families to be familiar with various economic theories.

“Austrian” is in effect the anti Keynesian approach to economic ‘management’. It was given energy when Carl Menger published Principles of Economics in 1871, and while it is complex, at its heart lie such things as Credit restraint, and Laisser-faire.

The “Austrian School” is also a stream of economic thought that has been used to attack Marx’s theories, which may mean that Paul, to his favour, may have been taking a stab at the Obama socialist economics, and insane ignorance of the impact that overwhelming debt will have.

@ Nan G:
I’m not a supporter…yet. But the Austrian economists, such as Hayek and Von Mises run counter to Keynesian economists.

@ James Raider:
In Paul’s speech, he was relating to the time when Nixon said, “We are all Keynesians now.” Paul is a devotee of the Austrian School of Economics. Nixon made the statement after he took the US off the gold standard. Paul has promised to restore the gold standard.

@James Raider:

NanG, good catch.

I don’t know if it was ‘good catch’ per say… when I heard it I understood immediately what he was talking about since he talks so much about Austrian economic policies.

As for your post, CJ, perhaps it would have been more useful had you notified Paul’s campaign and reminded him of the law instead of blast him on a blog. I also support Ron Paul and that is how I would have handled it. I doubt he really wants to do anything illegal or get anyone in trouble. I do question your motives here.

One minor point as regards the post title: as far as I can tell, it’s not Paul that’s violated any rule, but Thorsen. Now, Paul is showing poor form by *using* Thorsen’s violation in this way, but he still hasn’t broken any rules as far as I can tell.

No such restrictions on the official obama website.

Reality check, all you linked DailyPaul types…

1: Donations are not a poll. They are simply donations. OpenSecrets shows the donations to RP from the four armed forces, plus Coast Guard and Defense Dept total $202,395 for the full year of 2011. Assuming each of these donors optimistically gave the minimum $200, that’s a total of 1011 military employed individuals, or family members, out of an industry that employs over 2 million. Even less if they gave more.

And there is absolutely no facts to support that those donations are from combat soldiers instead of bureaucrats.

2: Exit polls from SC – a huge military state, and Florida completely disprove the theory that “the military supports Ron Paul”. In South Carolina, only 14% of the veterans voting were for Paul. Even Santorum got more veteran support. But take heart… RP beat Perry’s 1% of the veteran vote. Oh wait… Perry had pulled out of the race.

3: Florida exit polls also show that veterans did not swarm to RP. In fact, in Jacksonville – where the military is the largest single employer – Paul only got 7% of the vote in Duval County total.

Not looking good for that supposed “support” translating to votes, is it?

Now, at this late date in mid February, I’m happy to see that Ron Paul, himself isn’t exploiting our troops in this dishonest fashion. I hope he continues not to disrespect our military by playing that game. Now if he can just get his eager beavers to rein in the dishonesty…

@MataHarley: As of last week, (not sure which nite, sorry) Ron Paul was on Greta and he was still saying that the military supported him 6 to 1 over all the other GOP candidates combined.

Hey, why let go of a lie when no one challenges you on it, right antics? LOL Then again, Paul is the bottom of the barrel in the choices right now, so it’s probably just token coverage. They could care less about fact checking him.

The reason I added that info on this thread is that the DailyPaul types linked to this thread when advertising their latest/greatest self-made posters with a solider in uniform, with the lie… er, slogan.. that the “military supports Ron Paul”. Since a bunch of them have already navigated there, worried about whether their lies will get Ron Paul into campaign jeopardy, I thought I’d give them a reality check. I’m sure, however, that reality doesn’t mean much to the DailyPaul types. Otherwise they wouldn’t be making that poster to begin with.

All he had to do was to take off his uniform.
wow, either way he is in trouble, dress or bare,

couldn’t resist that one

oops sorry,
best to you.

@MataHarley: You got that right on the media coverage of RP. But he shouldn’t be too upset with his lack of coverage, he refuses to go on Mark Levin’s radio show, which I can understand. Mark would rip him apart, he would be respectful, but he would rip him up on his foreign policy stance. Newt Gingrich told Levin’s producer that he needs body armor when he is on his show, lol.

RP also refuses to go on Hannity’s shows.

I think at this point, RP is just hoping to be a part of the Romney admin, who he perceives as the eventual nominee. However, to be counting on loyalty from Romney is optimistic at best…IMHO.

‘Mark would rip him apart, he would be respectful’
Not sure how respectful he would be in person, but if someone were as disrespectful to me as Levin is to Paul generally, I wouldn’t go on his show either.
Generally speaking Paul has gotten a decent amount of media coverage this cycle (not enough to please all his supporters ofc) and can afford to pick and choose his interviews a little more than last time, so you’re not likely to see him squaring off against hostile blowhards like Levin very much.

@bbartlog: Well Levin is solidly behind Santorum, but I have heard him interview Chris Christie and New Gingrich and he was direct, but polite with them.

His rants during his monologues have nothing to do with his interview style.

meh The ‘grate’ Levin

@just me 95: Um… I’m thinking you mean great, lol.

I happen to really like Levin. He is spot on and no one has a better grasp of the Constitution than he does. As for his “diatribes” against Ron Paul and co-horts, he is entitled to his opinion just like everyone else. But he must be doing something right, he has over 7 million listeners.

Someone explains to me why there is such a law disallowing veterans to express their political positions. I can understand such a law applying to active military people. If they are not active military people, the should have the right to support whatever political positions they have without being punished for it. Are their citizen rights nulled because they served in the military?

hi, you have a good argument for sure, and why are the MLLITARY for some has decided to follow RON PAUL? IT’S probably like a COLONEL MENTIONED ONCE HERE, THE WARS have been non stop since the WW ll, and they know it’s true, and being in to it, seeing the ones get killed or dismembered by atrocity from cluster bombs buried under their feet, while they are being restraint and being to stand court trial if they get into action to eliminate their enemies, or being punish if they angrily piss over the dead bodies of enemies,
they know, because it’s where they learn, and furthermore, they should be the most influencial group to saw election which bring change of GOVERNMENT WHO FAILED TO HONOR THEIR OATH ON
protecting AMERICA by lack of ability to do what is the best thing for AMERICANS including the MILITARY, AS OPPOSE TO WHATis decided now to cut their expanses, and now decide to prevent the holy men to bless them before they fight the enemies, which is for some their last blessing,