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McCain Uses Military Despite Regulations Forbidding Partisan Activities

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The Boston Globe reports a McCain campaign earlier this month used active-duty soldiers in uniform at a rally in Londonberry, New Hampshire, despite federal regulations prohibiting such activity;

After introducing other dignitaries and before giving his defense of General David Petraeus and the Bush administration's strategy in Iraq, McCain handed a microphone to each of the seven soldiers — all wearing fatigues and berets — who introduced themselves by name, rank, and, in some cases, a description of their prior service elsewhere.

The Army personnel then stood alongside McCain in front of approximately 75 attendees. The campaign had advertised the midday event as a "barbecue," and served hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and soda.

"Thanks guys for being here," McCain said. We're honored by your presence and your service."

A Pentagon official did not dispute that the 2004 directive would apply in this instance.

"Department of Defense maintains a long-standing policy that DoD personnel acting in their official capacity may not be engaged in activities that associate DoD with any partisan political campaign or election, candidate, cause or issue," Lt. Col. Jonathan Withington wrote in a statement.

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If any other candidate had done this I might not have taken much notice- John McCain, however, should be intimately familiar with the Uniform Code of Military Justice and its prohibitions on such partisan political activity. The applicable federal law states (emphasis mine- AD stands for "active duty");
a. A member on AD may: (1) Register, vote, and express his or her personal opinion on political candidates and issues, but not as a representative of the Armed Forces. (2) Make monetary contributions to a political organization- (3) Attend partisan and nonpartisan political meetings or rallies as a spectator when not in uniform. b. A member on AD shall not: (1) Use his or her official authority or influence for interfering with an election; affecting the course or outcome of an election; soliciting votes for a particular candidate or issue; or requiring or soliciting political contributions from others. (2) Be a candidate for, or hold, civil office except as authorized in subsections D.2. and D.3., below. (3) Participate in partisan political management, campaigns, or conventions. (4) Make campaign contributions to another r of the Armed Forces or an employee of the Federal Government.
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Mike Kuykendall is a progressive, patriotic veteran of the U.S. Air Force, fighting hard to save our democracy.

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