On Thursday, the House passed the new Stolen Valor Act of 2012 by a vote of 410-3. This new bill makes it illegal to profit from falsely claiming to have received a military medal or decoration for serving in combat.
This new law is a response to the Stolen Valor Act of 2005, which made it a federal crime to falsely represent oneself as having received any US decoration or medal. The Supreme Court struck down that law in June 2012 as interfering with the First Amendment, which this new law gets by targeting those who seek to profit (either in money, property, or any other tangible benefit) from their false claims, rather than the claim itself.
This new law covers many military decorations, such as:
- Medal of Honor
- Distinguished Service Cross
- Navy Cross
- Air Force Cross
- Silver Star
- Purple Heart
- Combat Infantryman’s Badge
- Combat Action Badge
- Combat Medical Badge
- Combat Action Ribbon
- Combat Action Medal
- Other campaign badges
The original bill also included a provision making it illegal to claim to be a member of a special forces unit, but this was eventually removed.
The penalty for violating this new law could be up to 1 year imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
The bill now heads to the Senate, where a similar bill has been introduced.