Heck Stolen Valor Act Passes House Judiciary Committee

Bill cleared for floor consideration

WASHINGTON - After calling on Congress to pass the Stolen Valor Act of 2011 which seeks to make it a crime to knowingly benefit from lying about military service or awards, Congressman Joe Heck (NV-03) today applauded the House Judiciary Committee for passing H.R. 1775, the Stolen Valor Act of 2011, which clears the bill for consideration by the full House of Representatives. The bipartisan Stolen Valor Act of 2011 makes a key change to the Stolen Valor Act of 2005 by punishing individuals who misrepresent military service in order to knowingly benefit. The bill passed the committee unanimously.

"I am pleased the Judiciary Committee has passed the Stolen Valor Act of 2011 on a unanimous vote," Rep. Heck said. "I believe that we must defend the valor of those who have served our country but also that we must protect the very liberties for which our service men and women sacrificed. The Stolen Valor Act of 2011 would achieve both objectives.

"I thank Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith for his efforts in bringing the bill before the committee and hope we can move the bill to the House floor as quickly as possible."

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (TX) applauded today's committee vote stating, “I congratulate Rep. Heck on the House Judiciary Committee’s passage of the Stolen Valor Act.  I appreciate Rep. Heck’s leadership on this legislation to better protect the integrity of military decorations.

“The Stolen Valor Act clarifies current law to prohibit false claims of receipt of the Medal of Honor and other military decorations to carry out a fraud.  This legislation reaffirms Congress’ respect and gratitude to the men and women of the Armed Forces.  It continues our long-standing commitment to protect the prestige of military decorations awarded to honor the valor and sacrifice of our military heroes.  And it ensures that those who seek to exploit these medals for fraudulent gain are held accountable.”

Congressman Mark Amodei (NV-02), a member of the Judiciary Committee and Nevada congressional delegation, supported the bill in the committee saying, "I support Dr. Heck's bill, H.R. 1775, the Stolen Valor Act, which was drafted in anticipation of the Supreme Court's decision. It is narrowly tailored to protect free speech, while standing up for the integrity of those who have served and rightly earned the military's highest honors."

Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02), who spoke in favor of the legislation during committee consideration of the bill added, “Protecting the integrity and valor of American servicemembers who have distinguished themselves in defense of this nation is critically important, and I applaud Dr. Joe Heck for authoring the Stolen Valor Act.  In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v Alvarez, the Judiciary Committee approved my clarifying amendment that prohibits someone from fraudulently claiming to be ‘a recipient of certain military decorations or medals with the intent to obtain money, property or other tangible benefit,’ ensuring that the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart and other military awards will be shielded from fraud.”

Background:

The Stolen Valor Act of 2005 made it a crime to lie about military service and awards, but was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 28, 2012.

Based on the Supreme Court’s ruling, Rep. Heck's legislation would be constitutional because it focuses on those who seek to benefit from misrepresentations of military service and awards.

United States Senator Scott Brown (MA) introduced companion legislation in the Senate, S. 1728. Senator Brown's bill currently has 33 bipartisan cosponsors.

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