Virginia is holding an election this fall for State Senate, and if Marine Sergeant Mark Bowens has his way, Democrat Rob Krupicka will win. Sgt. Bowens appears in uniform in a campaign mailing for Krupicka with the tagline “I fought for my country and I know Rob Krupicka will fight for me. Sgt. Mark Bowens Fifth Marines.” Bowen is in uniform in the photos and the flyer implies he is on active duty.
One small problem, the Department of Defense prohibits uniformed military personnel from appearing in partisan campaign materials. Both Pentagon sources and multiple military officers have told me this is a violation of DOD guidelines, and some are outraged by the campaign exploiting a Marine for partisan purposes. Naturally the Washington Post has nothing to say about this. The DOD guidelines state:
“A member on the Armed Forces on active duty shall not: . . . 22.214.171.124. Allow or cause to be published partisan political articles, letters, or endorsements signed or written by the member that solicits votes for or against a partisan political party, candidate, or cause.”
Even if the Marine is not on active duty, the Democrat’s advertisement still seems to violate DOD regs. One Navy officer tells me “The Directive covers that as well. See 4.1.4. Basically, a reservist has far fewer restrictions placed on his or her ability to participate in political campaigns. However, the one big restriction is that the member shall not do so ‘in uniform and does not otherwise act in a manner that could reasonably give rise to the inference or appearance of official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement.’”
Krupicka labels himself as a “progressive” and the only candidate in the race with “children in public schools.” Let’s hope he didn’t get this Marine in trouble.