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updated: 10/7/2012 12:26 PM

Truth check: Is Duckworth violating uniform rules?

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  • Video: Joe Walsh on issues

  • Video: Tammy Duckworth on issues

 
By Kerry Lester
Politics and Projects Writer
klester@dailyherald.com

A video on Tammy Duckworth's congressional campaign website is being called into question because it lacks a required disclaimer for showing the Iraq War veteran in her Army uniform.

Duckworth's campaign, however, said the video used a proper disclaimer when originally aired on television and that the campaign complies with Department of Defense rules.

Michael Saubert, of Hoffman Estates, sent a Sept. 29 letter to Army Secretary John McHugh, saying "Duckworth is giving the false impression that the (Department of Defense) is supporting her candidacy."

Duckworth, of Hoffman Estates, is running for election in the 8th Congressional District against Republican Congressman Joe Walsh, of McHenry.

In his letter to McHugh, Saubert pointed to mail pieces and a March 2012 commercial titled "Fueled" used in the Democratic primary that he said were in violation of Department of Defense rules. A Daily Herald review of such pieces found only the video on Duckworth's website lacked a disclaimer, which her spokeswoman described as an oversight.

Department of Defense rules state that members of the military "not on active duty (including retired members) may use photos of themselves in uniform for 'campaign media' purposes." However, "the photo or information must be accompanied by a prominent and clearly displayed disclaimer that neither the military information nor photographs imply endorsement by the Department of Defense or their particular military department."

Sauber was in Operation Iraqi Freedom from November 2003 to September 2005, serving for a portion of that time alongside Duckworth, who lost her legs and partial use of her right arm in November 2004 when a rocket-propelled grenade hit the helicopter she was flying in.

Saubert has commented on blogs and Facebook in support of Walsh, noting in a July 7 post on www.csteventucker.wordpress.com that "Joe's heart is fast and true to our vets!" In an interview, he said he considers Duckworth a friend but feels the issue "needs to be discussed."

According to the Cook County clerk's office, Saubert pulled a Republican ballot in the 2012 primary.

Duckworth spokeswoman Kaitlin Fahey said in an email exchange that the campaign has "complied with all the laws. We are very familiar with them."

Duckworth currently serves as a lieutenant colonel of the Illinois National Guard.

The only video that Duckworth has released so far in the general election uses the disclaimer, as do her mailers.

Duckworth, in a statement, described Saubert as a "good friend of mine and also a loyal supporter of my opponent." She suggested that Walsh is working to "exploit a good man like Mike for his own political gains by twisting the truth. I wish Mike had taken the time to do his own research instead of believing the lies from the Walsh campaign."

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