Video follows below.
28-year-old Army reservist Cpl. Jesse Thorsen could face disciplinary action after he violated military code by speaking at a rally in support of GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul while wearing his fatigues. Thorsen reportedly preceded his appearance at the rally with an interview on CNN.
Fox News explains why Thorsen was considered to be in violation of military code:
According to the Defense Department directive on political activities by military members, active duty forces are encouraged to vote and can sign petitions, serve as polling volunteers, contribute to campaigns and display political bumper stickers on their private vehicles.
However, they may not “participate in partisan political fundraising activities … rallies, conventions (including making speeches in the course thereof), management of campaigns, or debates, either on one’s own behalf or on that of another, without respect to uniform or inference or appearance of official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement.”
They also may not “speak before a partisan political gathering, including any gathering that promotes a partisan political party, candidate, or cause” or “participate in any radio, television or other program or group discussion as an advocate for or against a partisan political party, candidate or cause.”
The directive adds that, unlike active-duty, non-active duty military members may participate in political activities, “provided the member is not 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.”
Whether Thorsen, who reportedly has not been on active duty since October, will face disciplinary action remains to be seen. A Reserve spokeswoman was not immediately available to discuss his case.
But Thorsen’s actions may be indicative of what the Texas congressman boasts is his significant military support. The Paul campaign claims it receives more fundraising dollars from military members than any other Republican presidential candidate.
According to Fox, 2011 third-quarter financial reporting reveals that while Paul was third on the list in terms of overall fundraising, he has out-raised his rivals in military donations.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Paul collected $95,567 in campaign contributions through Sept. 30, 2011, from people who list their occupation as one of the branches of the U.S. military or Defense Department — topping every other 2012 candidate, including Obama, who raised $72,616 through that reporting period.
Former Air Force pilot and current New Hampshire state senator Jim Forsythe told Fox that Paul’s policies would actually strengthen the military:
“I served overseas and Dr. Paul understands what a lot of people don’t — there’s a big distinction between military spending and defense spending,” he said. “Spending money overseas makes us weaker economically. It also does nothing to strengthen our defense, whereas having our troops here at home does that,” he said.
Why do you think Paul, who favors what critics consider isolationist policies, is receiving more military contributions than any other candidate currently vying for the Republican nomination?
Watch Thorsen speak at Paul’s rally below: