Congressman John T. Salazar wrote his colleagues in the House of Representatives today asking for their support in the fight over the Stolen Valor Act and to support the follow-up legislation, The Military Valor Roll of Honor Act, to establish a national database of military honors to help prevent waste, fraud and abuse. The text of Congressman Salazar's letter is below.
In 2005, we won a major victory for our veterans in the fight against fraud with the passage of the Stolen Valor Act. Once signed into law, this legislation provided law enforcement the first real tool with which to prosecute those who pose as veterans for personal gain.
Recently, two misguided court decisions have ruled against the Stolen Valor Act. While I am confident that the ruling will be overturned in the Supreme Court, an interesting point was raised by the California Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. They specifically cited the need for a comprehensive database of names and awards as a preventative measure to fraud.
The Majority Opinion that struck down the Stolen Valor Act did note the following (Page 11868) "Preserving the value of military decorations is unquestionably an appropriate and worthy governmental objective that Congress may achieve through, for example, publicizing the names of legitimate recipients or false claimants..."
I first introduced the Military Valor Roll of Honor Act in the 110th Congress. This follow up to Stolen Valor would create an easily accessible public database listing awards earned by servicemen and women.
Where the Stolen Valor Act made it illegal to claim ownership of any military decoration awarded by Congress that was not rightfully earned, the Roll of Honor would provide a necessary tool for law enforcement officials to prosecute those charged under Stolen Valor. In the past, individuals have falsely claimed to have earned awards in order to apply for student loans, home loans and when running for office.
This legislation creates a database containing the names and citations of our brave servicemen and women who have been awarded the Medal of Honor or any other medal authorized by Congress.
We now have an appeals court stating that Congress should call for a database of all who have received awards. Please join me in becoming a cosponsor of the Military Valor Roll of Honor Act.
John T. Salazar
Member of Congress