In an effort to address the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Stolen Valor Act, Mark Udall has joined with Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) to introduce the Military Service Integrity Act of 2012.
"Allowing individuals to falsely portray themselves as veterans or recipients of highly respected awards, like the Purple Heart, cheapens the sacrifices of actual veterans," Udall said. "Congress needs to act in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision to protect the image and integrity of our troops and veterans-and to protect taxpayers and voters from those who would profit from their false claims of service. The American people expect no less. The Military Service Integrity Act will ensure that the sacrifices and valor of those who have served are not cheapened by those who benefit from others' service and sacrifices."
The Stolen Valor Act, which Udall co-sponsored in 2006 when he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, made it a misdemeanor to falsely represent oneself as having received a U.S. military medal or decoration. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the law last month on First Amendment grounds, and this bill attempts to address the court's concerns.
The Military Service Integrity Act would punish individuals who falsely portray themselves as veterans and use that perception to profit, obtain benefits such as hiring preference, or seek elected office. The legislation would also reinstate measures making it a crime to manufacture, sell, attempt to sell, import, or export U.S. military decorations or medals authorized by Congress for the armed forces, except when authorized under lawful regulations.