Congressman Paul Cook (R-Yucca Valley) announced his co-sponsorship of the federal Stolen Valor Act of 2013.
In June 2012, the United States Supreme Court struck down the original Stolen Valor Act of 2005, declaring the law was in violation of the First Amendment. The law made it a federal misdemeanor to represent oneself falsely as having received U.S. military decorations or medals. The Court determined that simply lying about one's military service and accomplishments qualifies as protected speech under the constitution.
This new legislation, introduced by Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nevada), resolves the Constitutional issues requiring a so-called "intent to defraud" provision -- meaning the violator had the intention of obtaining money, property, and other tangible benefit as the result of a false claim.
As a state lawmaker, Cook authored California's state Stolen Valor Act, which was signed into law. Cook's state law included an "intent to defraud" provision and has not been challenged in court.
Cook stated, "This law is a continuation of the important work we did at the state level when I was Chairman of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee. The Stolen Valor Act of 2013 is extremely important because it protects and honors veterans and the sacrifices they've made. When people make false claims of military rank and heroism, it does a tremendous disservice not only to our vets, but to the public. I'm proud to be a co-sponsor."
Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the US Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.