Congressional Candidate Caught Lying About Military Service -- Free Speech or Criminal Act?
A Democratic congressional candidate in Arkansas dropped out of his race this week after he was caught lying about his military record. Ken Aden claimed that he was in the Special Forces, when in reality he failed out of Special Forces training three times and was honorably discharged in 2010. While Aden's actions may be dishonorable, the Supreme Court has ruled that lying about military service is not illegal.
The nation’s highest court struck down the Stolen Valor Act, citing the First Amendment. The Supreme Court ruled that the law, which made it illegal to lie about one’s military accomplishments, violated the right to free speech. Today on Fox and Friends, Captain Pete Hegseth, one of the founders of Vets for Freedom, said that he agrees with the court’s decision.
Hegseth explained his reasoning to David Briggs, saying, “Ken Aden has the right to be an idiot
… Content-based restrictions on speech, it’s a very high bar in the Constitution. I’m a free speech guy. If you want to go out and make an idiot of yourself, you can. But you can’t financially benefit from it, or in this case, you shouldn’t be elected to the United States Congress because of it.”
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Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) is joining the effort to put forth a new law that would make it illegal to benefit financially from misrepresenting military service. Hegseth thinks that’s the kind of narrow law needed because it's too broad to be “criminalizing [Aden’s] action and some guy sitting at a bar stool telling war stories.”
Check out the segment below and tell us what you think -- should it be illegal to lie about military service, or does it fall under protected speech?