Sarah Palin appeared at Fort Bragg today, promoting her book, “Going Rogue” to the military. Palin had promised to limit herself to signing books, no politicizing her visit, amidst general concerns that her signing would violate Federal Law (Titles 10, 2, and 18, United States Code), Department of Defense (DOD) Directives, and specific military regulations strictly limit a military active duty person’s participation in partisan political activities.
“Two sets of rules help protect the integrity of the political process: a DoD directive for active-duty service members and the Hatch Act for federal civilians. These rules keep the military out of partisan politics and ensure that the workplace remains politically neutral….
Of all DoD employees, the men and women in uniform have the most restrictions regarding political activity… Service members as well as government civilians can attend political meetings or rallies. Military members can attend only as spectators and not in uniform. They’re not permitted to make public political speeches, serve in any official capacity in partisan groups, or participate in partisan political campaigns or conventions.”
The Department of Defense defines “partisan political activity” as “activity supporting or relating to candidates representing, or issues specifically identified with, national or State political parties and associated or ancillary organizations.”
Furthermore, regulations for US military personnel are as follows:
Cannot – Participate in any organized effort to provide voters with transportation to the polls if the effort is organized by, or associated with, a partisan political party or candidate.
Cannot – Speak before a partisan political gathering, including any gathering that promotes a partisan political party, candidate, or cause.
Cannot – Participate in any radio, television, or other program or group discussion as an advocate for or against of a partisan political party, candidate, or cause.
Can – Join a political club and attend its meetings when not in uniform.
Cannot – Serve in any official capacity or be listed as a sponsor of a partisan political club.
Cannot – March or ride in a partisan political parade.
Cannot – Sell tickets for, or otherwise actively promote, political dinners and similar fundraising events.
Federal employees should also be aware that certain political activities may also be criminal offenses under title 18 of the U.S. Code.
“Palin’s appearance tested Department of Defense regulations, which prohibit politicians from using installations as a platform. Palin didn’t give a speech and individually thanked soldiers, and a base spokesman said she was not campaigning.
But the bus parked nearby encouraged donations to her political action committee and supporters made clear that she should run for president.”
And her father, Chuck Heath, didn’t help matters when he greeted supporters as his daughter signed copies of the book, and said in an interview that Obama’s handling of the military was “scary.”
“I see a decline in our might,” Chuck Heath said. “People used to be afraid of us and respect us, (but) they’re not afraid of us and don’t respect us anymore.””
It’s noteworthy that Palin’s Facebook page is full of comments calling for the death of our President, sedition, and overthrowing of the Obama administration as being God’s will. She’s also the defacto leader of the Tea Party Movement, to be officially crowned as such by them this February. The notion that Palin is politically neutral and does not represent a threat to the Commander in Chief’s authority is painfully absurd, but irregardless, no one can engage in any political activities “inside the fence line” of any military installation or in any federal building. Even if they aren’t teabagging seditionists.
Failure to follow those rules could result in punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Article 92, Failure to Obey a Lawful Regulation.
Has Palin inflicted her inevitable brand of chaos to a military installation, where our hard-working troops have enough challenges without dealing with the careless rule-breaking of a calculating politician? It looks like she and her entourage violated federal law while on Ft Stewart.
Of course, her base will find a way of making this about free speech (ignoring the necessity of an apolitical military) and it will be someone else’s fault. Perhaps Chuck Health should prepare to be thrown under the Hate Talk Express, along with all of the other innocents in her book.
Palin may need to remind herself that she is not the Commander in Chief. She seems to have a hard time with this concept, and so often compares herself to Obama that I often wonder if she is functioning in the reality of her failed VP bid last year. Certainly she uses her FaceBook platform as Royalty, dictating her “policy” thoughts as though they should be accepted as part of our political dialogue, while on the other hand claiming she is a private citizen who just so happens to have a PAC.
The only politician allowed to make political speeches on a military reservation is the CIC, President Obama. It is also prohibited to speak out against the CIC within the military, for obvious reasons. There is a chain of command within the very complex organization of our military, and it needs to be respected if we are to maintain order. This isn’t new to the Obama administration. It is the way it’s always worked.
The quickness with which Palin disregarded Federal Law, codes of conduct, and agreements should tell us all just how she would govern should she ever get herself anywhere near the White House. Of course, Alaskans have been warning us of this precise behavior for a year now, and they have the ethics complaints and guilty verdicts to prove it.
Palin also plans visit to Fort Hood, Texas, on Dec. 4, 2009, just a month after the tragedy where 12 people were killed there.
God help us all.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.