Updated links to Stolen Valor Act news articles
Hello again collectors of militaria,
There have been many stories in the news about those fraudulent individuals who represent themselves as military veterans and have been prosecuted under the Stolen Valor Act, be it local or nationally.
I will begin to post links to these stories as I come across them. You will see our standing concerning Stolen Valor legislation is reiterated in these links - not one collector has been affected by the new law.
Again, Manion's International Auction House fully endorses the prosecution of those who seek to cheapen the sacrifices made by military veterans. However, we feel those who wish to honor those who served through collecting of military related items should be free to do so.
We encourage concerned parties to be vigilant in monitoring proposed legislation in their communities to ensure the wording of the bill safeguards collectors.
Stolen Valor Act News Article Reference Center
In the beginning, many of these Stolen Valor Act news stories were actually, more or less, duplicates as other news outlets picked up on the stories and ran them in different cities across the nation - so many of them had to do with the same offender. More recent posts have been more carefully filtered for duplicate Stolen Valor Act content pertaining to the same incident. Also, if the location of the media outlet is not evident from the name of the "publication", I am attempting to identify the area from which it came so state by state Stolen Valor Act information may be monitored more efficiently.
This monitoring of Stolen Valor Act news stories has proven to be somewhat 0f a challenge to consistently update, and is by no means 100% complete, but as far as I know it is one of the most comprehensive on the web (with the possible exception of Mr. Sterner's Home of Heroes but I have not been through the entire site). If you have a Stolen Valor Act news story that I am unaware of, and does not repeat material already provided - please pass it on!
Posted Thursday, March 8th, 2007 - Manion's Collecting News
We have received some more information regarding the Stolen Valor Act. As you may have noticed, Manion's has taken on the responsibility of researching and relaying pertinent information on to the readers of Manion's Collecting News, and the collecting community.
The office of one of our local Congressmen has passed this along, and we thought you may find it of interest. It is a copy of the speech given by Senator Kurt Conrad on the Senate floor February 27th, 2007. Since Senator Conrad's bill was the version signed into law, we feel these remarks may be taken as the legislative intent of the bill. It basically addresses the protection given collectors under the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
We hope this helps provide more insight into the effect, or lack of, the Stolen Valor Act has on legitimate military collectors.
Statement of Senator Kent Conrad
February 27, 2007
MR. CONRAD: Mr. President, I would like to comment today on the Stolen Valor Act of 2005 that was signed into law by President Bush on December 20, 2006. I am extremely proud of authoring the Senate version of this legislation that ultimately became law. The new law that has resulted from the Stolen Valor Act strengthens and expands the protections for our Armed Forces’ military service awards and decorations.
Since the Stolen Valor Act was signed into law, there have been reports of concerns raised by medals collectors, historians, museums, family members that inherit medals, and persons legitimately possessing, shipping, or selling military service awards and decorations. I would like to make it clear for the Record that the intent and effect of my legislation and the resulting law is only to provide the tools law enforcement need to prosecute those fraudulently using military service awards they did not earn through service to our Armed Forces. It does not in any way restrict legitimate possession, use, shipment, or display of these awards and decorations.
Before the law was enacted, my legislation was reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the House Judiciary Committee, the Department of Justice, and the Congressional Research Service’s American Law Division. All concluded that the Stolen Valor legislation does not negatively impact those legitimately in possession of military service awards and decorations.
Although the new law modifies Title 18 USC, Section 704, it does not impact the legitimate purchase, sale, or possession of medals. The key part of this passage is the phrase: "except when authorized under regulations made pursuant to law." That exception refers to 32 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Section 507. I believe the concerns raised by collectors and dealers of military medals and memorabilia may stem from lack of familiarity with the CFR and its relationship to statutory law. The CFR is the regulation that implements and administers statutory provisions, in this case, the provisions of 18 USC Section 704 as amended by the Stolen Valor Act.
The CFR specifically states in Section 507.12 (b) “Mere possession by a person of any of the articles prescribed in Sec. 507.8 of this part is authorized provided that such possession is not used to defraud or misrepresent the identification or status of the individuals concerned.” According to numerous legal experts consulted on the drafting of the Stolen Valor legislation, “mere possession” would include: family members that inherit medals, museums, collectors, approved medals dealers, historians, and other persons in possession or selling medals that do not use them for fraudulent purposes. In addition, CFR Sec. 507.8(a) indicates, “the articles listed in paragraphs (a) (1) through (10) of this section are authorized for manufacture and sale when made in accordance with approved specifications, purchase descriptions or drawings.”
The articles listed as authorized for manufacture and sale in Sec. 507.8(a) include: decorations, service medals, ribbons, lapel buttons, and badges with the exception of the Medal of Honor. The CFR allows for the sale of all US medals (except the Medal of Honor) and insignia, provided that an official government manufacturer has made them and that the Institute of Heraldry (IOH) approved those pieces. Thus, the Stolen Valor Act does not in any way stop collectors or dealers from selling or collecting officially made medals and insignia, whether they were made yesterday or fifty years ago.
I ask Unanimous Consent that a memo from the American Law Division at Congressional Research Service supporting this analysis be included in the Record at the conclusion of my remarks.
In closing, I again want to assure those legitimately in possession of, selling, displaying, or shipping military service awards that the Stolen Valor Act is only directed at those who fraudulently use military service awards and decorations. I have been to Walter Reed Hospital, Bethesda Naval Hospital, and have awarded numerous awards and decorations to soldiers and veterans. These brave men and women have given so much to ensure our freedoms. I strongly believe protecting the meaning and valor of military service awards is a very important way we can continue to honor their service and sacrifice.
Posted Saturday, Feb. 3rd, 2007 - Manion's Collecting News
We have recently received some information from Doug Sterner, the man behind www.homeofheroes.com - a website for information about patriotism, the Medal of Honor, and military history. Doug is very much a supporter of the Stolen Valor Act, and was instrumental in its implementation.
In September Mr. Sterner requested an independent legal opinion regarding the Stolen Valor Act from the American Law Division. This legal opinion affirmed that collectors of medals are protected by the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), and will not be affected by the Stolen Valor Act.
In fact, FBI Special Agent Tom Cottone notes that ANYTHING you, as a dealer or collector, could legally do BEFORE passage of the Stolen Valor Act, you can do NOW with the exception of printing blank citations or claiming to be a recipient of any of the awards you are not (for an in depth article on the history of the Stolen Valor Act, click here).
Note the section in the legislation stating - except when authorized under regulations made pursuant to law - this refers to the above mentioned CFR, the specific sections are listed in the correspondence from Mr. Sterner, which is pasted below.
We hope this helps to shed some light on this issue currently confusing to the collecting community.
Thanks again for reading, and please continue to count on Manion's International Auction House to provide you with more information related to the Stolen Valor Act as it becomes available. We would like to extend sincere appreciation to Mr. Doug Sterner for his assistance in understanding this issue, and for his continued service to his country and for his tireless efforts to honor our nation's military heroes.
From Doug Sterner 2/3/07
I am concerned about the misinformation on the Stolen Valor Act.
Below is the way the code read BEFORE the Stolen Valor Act (The blue lettering is the wording that the act ADDED—note that the “manufactures, or sells” language was IN the code BEFORE the Stolen Valor Act (but the exchange, purchase, sale, etc. was legal then). The newly worded act simply MOVED the words “manufactures, or sells” in the paragraph, it did NOT ADD THEM (they were already there)..
(a) In General.--Whoever knowingly wears, purchases, attempts to purchase, solicits for purchase, mails, ships, imports, exports, produces blank certificates of receipt for, manufactures, or sells, attempts to sell, advertises for sale, trades, barters, or exchanges for anything of value any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the armed forces of the colorable imitation thereof, except when authorized under regulations made pursuant to law, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both., or any of the service medals or badges awarded to the members of such forces, or the ribbon, button, or rosette of any such badge, decoration or medal, or any
(b) False Claims About Receipt of Military Decorations or Medals- Whoever falsely represents himself or herself, verbally or in writing, to have been awarded any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the Armed Forces of the , any of the service medals or badges awarded to the members of such forces, the ribbon, button, or rosette of any such badge, decoration, or medal, or any colorable imitation of such item shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than six months, or both.
The language “except when authorized under regulations” in subsection (a) refers to the authorization spelled out in the CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS, which is below. You will see what medals (which includes ALL medals and badges) a person can buy, sell, trade, collect.)
Last September in order to clarify all of this, we requested an Independent Legal Opinion from the American Law Division. It was our belief that the CFR protected collectors and dealers, and this was affirmed by the Legal Opinion. SA Tom Cottone notes that ANYTHING you, as a dealer or collector, could legally do BEFORE passage of the Stolen Valor Act, you can do NOW with the exception of printing blank citations or claiming to be a recipient of any of the awards if you are not.
[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 32, Volume 3]
[Revised as of July 1, 2003]
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
TITLE 32--NATIONAL DEFENSE
CHAPTER V--DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
Subpart B--Manufacture and Sale of Decorations, Medals, Badges, and Insignia.
Sec. 507.8 Articles authorized for manufacture and sale.
(a) The articles listed in paragraphs (a) (1) through (10) of this section are authorized for manufacture and sale when made in accordance with approved specifications, purchase descriptions or drawings.
(1) All authorized insignia (AR 670-1 and AFI 36-2903).
(2) Appurtenances and devices for decorations, medals, and ribbons such as oak leaf clusters, service stars, arrowheads, V-devices, and clasps.
(3) Combat, special skill, occupational and qualification badges and bars.
(4) Identification badges.
(5) Fourrageres and lanyards.
(6) Lapel buttons.
(7) Decorations, service medals, and ribbons, except for the Medal of Honor.
(8) Replicas of decorations and service medals for grave markers. Replicas are to be at least twice the size prescribed for decorations and service medals.
(9) Service ribbons for decorations, service medals, and unit awards.
(11) Army emblem and branch of service plaques.
(b) Variations from the prescribed specifications for the items listed in paragraph (a) of this section are not permitted without prior approval, in writing, by TIOH.
TITLE 32--NATIONAL DEFENSE
CHAPTER V--DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
Subpart B--Manufacture and Sale of Decorations, Medals, Badges, and Insignia.
Sec. 507.9 Articles not authorized for manufacture or sale.
The following articles are not authorized for manufacture and sale, except under contract with DSCP:
(a) The Medal of Honor.
(b) Service ribbon for the Medal of Honor.
(c) Rosette for the Medal of Honor.
(d) Service flags (prescribed in AR 840-10 or AFR 900-3).
(e) Army seal.
(f) Commercial articles for public sale that incorporate designs or likenesses of decorations, service medals, and service ribbons.
(g) Commercial articles for public sale that incorporate designs or likenesses of designs of insignia listed in Sec. 507.8 of this part, except when authorized by the Service concerned.