Lawmakers push for new Stolen Valor Act
Published: July 10, 2012
WASHINGTON – Lawmakers upset over the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Stolen Valor Act last month are today pushing for a new version of the legislation, making it illegal for individuals to benefit from lying about their military service or receiving valor awards.
The previous Stolen Valor Act, passed in 2005, made any lie about military service or awards a federal misdemeanor. But the Supreme Court justices ruled the law was too broad, infringing on individuals’ free speech rights.
However, in their decision the justices noted that a more narrow measure – one that only punished those who profit from the fraud – could withstand a constitutional challenge.
Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., and Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., already introduced such legislation in anticipation of the Supreme Court decision, and have begun lobbying fellow lawmakers to adopt it before the end of the year.
Veterans groups disappointed over the decision have said they believe the new law is an easy fix and an easy sell, even with the bitter partisan divides in the current Congress.
Under the new bills, most frauds could face fines and up to six months in prison for profiting from lies about their military service. However, individuals who falsely claim to have served in the special forces, served in a combat zone or received the Medal of Honor would face up to a year in prison.