According to Special Operations Warrior Foundation Executive Director, Steve McLeary, his organization will partner with Glenn Beck :
... to recognize our First Amendment rights and honor the service members who fight to protect those freedoms and the principles America was founded upon.
Glenn Beck needs to understand a few things about this charity and the military.
- That a charity cannot raise funds for an event outside their stated mission.
- That a charity cannot raise funds for a private enterprise.
- That a military-affiliated charity should not partner with Glenn Beck, a political opinion maker who has built his name on right wing, partisan issues and is an outspoken critic of the current Commander-in-Chief.
Today's diary will focus on the third issue - the military, their relationship with the Commander-in-Chief, and this small charity's ties to our Active Duty service members. I am still including an Action list - it's important to turn up the heat.
If Glenn Beck has any honor, he will allow the charity to keep the money raised so far and find another avenue to fund the "Restore Our Honor" rally.
I need to recognize two folks before we get too far in the diary. Military Tracy opened my eyes with a few well placed comments in my last Glenn Beck diary. My friend, Blue Armadillo, has educated me about all things Beck. She daily sends me links and references to help pull these diaries together.
I couldn't do this without support - I don't have enough time in the day to work on this alone. So thanks to both of them and to the many others that are taking a few minutes, or a few hours, to work on this issue! That said, the topic begs for more diaries. If you are so inclined, we would love to see more people writing about this issue, whether it be from a military or civilian point of view.
If you are lost and wondering what all this is about, I have written a series of diaries about this charity and their fundraising for Glenn Beck's "Restore Our Honor" event. I posted a comment below called Sample Letter which is also a recap of what is going on. Or you can take a peek at these:
Satan's Three Musketeers Take On Glenn Beck
Glenn Beck Stages a Coup
A Military Wife's Tirade Against Glenn Beck
Today, I want to connect some dots.
- SOWF will raise funds in support of an event that service members can't even attend in uniform.
- SOWF has a been granted "statutory authority" by the Secretary of Defense.
- SOWF serves as an extension of the active duty military and therefore should be held to the same standard as our active duty military members.
I am not a lawyer and the law may not demand such high standards of SOWF. But I would expect an organization that serves our Special Operations troops to do no more than we ask of our own troops, respect our current system of government, up to and including the the civilian/military partnership that our Founding Fathers put in place many years ago.
So, let's take a look at these issues.
SOWF will raise funds in support of an event that service members can't even attend in uniform.
The uniform issue is pretty basic. We have discussed this in the comments of past diaries, but not explicitly explained the regulation. Here is it:
According to DOD Directive, NUMBER 1334.01, October 26, 2005
3.1. The wearing of the uniform by members of the Armed Forces (including retired members and members of Reserve components) is prohibited under any of the following circumstances:
3.1.3. Except when authorized by the approval authorities in subparagraph 4.1.1., when participating in activities such as unofficial public speeches, interviews, picket lines, marches, rallies or any public demonstration, which may imply Service sanction of the cause for which the demonstration or activity is conducted.
Even if this event is non-partisan, even if it can be argued that it is non-political, military members, including retirees and reserves, should not attend in uniform. Our military cannot be seen to sanction Glenn Beck.
The irony is that other SOWF events have been exactly the kind where the military could come and stand proud with no concern of political agendas. I believe the staff has underestimated Glenn Beck's role in the polarization of our nation.
SOWF has a been granted "statutory authority" by the Secretary of Defense.
"Statutory Authority" is something I don't understand one hundred percent and I would be grateful to any lawyer who can provide a more complete explanation. I do know that when the Secretary of Defense grants this relationship, the charity can benefit from it. For example, the charity can request a military speaker at tax payer expense to attend a fundraiser.
This gives them a unique relationship with the military community. Holding an event with a personality that has cemented his conservative ideology specifically to counter the current administration at every turn places the military in a difficult position. The Secretary of Defense may be disinclined to renew the authority for organizations that actively seek out opportunities to undermine the current civilian leadership.
SOWF serves as an extension of the active duty military and therefore should be held to the same standard as our active duty military members.
SOWF are listed on multiple military websites as a place for family support. They have immediate contact with families in need due to their special relationship with Department of Defense. A charity that supports military families should be above the political fray, in both partisan and non-partisan matters. Nor should families be concerned that a charity is engaged in political activity that may be contrary to their own beliefs.
This military/political divide is one that has been forgotten in years past. During the Bush administration, conservatives have pushed limits to the point of questionable legality.
In 2005, Fox News reported that President Bush discussed partisan politics in front of the troops:
WASHINGTON — Speeches by President Bush in recent weeks before military audiences about the Iraq war debate have raised questions about partisan issues being brought up in front of U.S. Armed Forces.
While polls may show Bush lagging in popular approval, the U.S. military views the commander in chief warmly, and he shows a likewise appreciation.
"We thought we'd come by and say hello to the Arctic warriors," Bush said at Elmendorf Air Base in Alaska last month.
But lately the president has been saying more than just "hello" to troops. Twice last month in speeches to military audiences, the president attacked Democrats and fired back at their accusations that pre-war intelligence was manipulated by his administration.
"It is irresponsible for Democrats to now claim we misled them and the American people," Bush said.
On Nov. 11 at the Army Depot in Tobyhanna, Pa., Bush told the audience of servicemen and women that some Democrats who voted to authorize the use of force against Iraq have attempted to rewrite the past.
"The national interest is too important for politicians to throw out false charges," he added.
The attacks against critics at military settings may have put troops in the awkward position of undermining their own regulations. A Department of Defense directive doesn't allow service members in uniform to attend "partisan political events."
And it's not just our former President who forgets this. During a course at the Army's Command and General Staff College, at Fort Leavenworth, KS, several members of the officer corps obviously forgot as well:
Military Professionalism and Partisan Politics
Fellow Cake Eaters,
In reference to today's media panel in Eisenhower Auditorium, how many of you were embarrassed and disappointed at how many people clapped/cheered when KU's Bill Lacy announced he was a Republican? My point centers not on the fact that they clapped because he was a Republican, but that they clapped at all!
Did we not just discuss military professionalism and civil-military relations in our staff groups this week? Without a doubt, military professionals have the right to be politically affiliated and vote, but such blatant demonstrations of partisanship, even by a few, in the bastion of our Professional Military Education is way out of balance with our professional norms.
We are apolitical as an institution. Those that think this morning's ovation was called for should consider further reflection on this critical attribute of our officer corps.
And who can forget the recent incident of the Republican Party response to the State of the Union where an Army Sergeant stood in uniform behind Bob McDonnell as he spoke.
The military is an apolitical institution and should remain so. The 4th Air Force reminds us,
The separation between political activities and the federal government is particularly crucial when involving the Armed Forces because of the importance of public confidence in civilian control over the military.
It is time to remind conservatives that they do not own the military. It is time to remind them that the relationship between the military and the civilian leadership was put in place by our Founding Fathers for good reason. When they try to undermine this relationship, it only harms the good governance of our nation.
For this reason, it is the responsibility of any organization that supports our active duty troops to remain above the fray of partisan politics.
For those of you who would like to help with this campaign, please choose an Action item for the day. Repeated calls to the charity will make a difference. But they will take time. In the meantime, we can try to bring more attention to the fundraising itself by writing letters to the editor and contacting the press. We are also adding two politicians to our contact list. Representative Kathy Castor represents the Tampa area and may be willing to call a charity within her constituency. Senator John McCain served on the SOWF Board of Advisors. We believe he may still serve on that board and will have access to the leadership that we do not. Furthermore, he is a ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He may be interested to know that military-affiliated charity that supports our troops is dabbling in partisan politics.
We would like a list of the current Board of Advisors. If anyone in the Tampa area is willing to make a field trip to the office for us, their latest Annual Report should have that information.
Let us know if you are willing to add your name to an IG complaint - Military Tracy is working that issue for us and we would like multiple names on the paperwork.
Thanks for all you do!
PRIDE * HONOR * SACRIFICE * DEDICATION * STRENGTH *
ACTION Email Military, Veterans & Patriotic Service Organizations of America and ask them to look into this situation. SOWF is a member charity of their organization and benefits from their recommendations to military families.
ACTION Contact Senator John McCain. If you are an AZ resident use this form. If you are not, use this form.
ACTION Contact US Representative Kathy Castor, Phone: (813)871-2817. She is the representative for Tampa, FL and may be willing to speak to the charity since they are within her district, especially if her own constituents contact her.
ACTION - Call Special Operations Warrior Foundation, 813-805-9400, and ask for Edie Rosenthal, the Public Relations Director, or Steve McLeary, the Executive Director. We're especially interested to know whose honor is being restored. Edie has had some interesting answers. Steve remains silent on the matter.
ACTION - Email Special Operations Warrior Foundation. Let them know what you think. You can address your emails to:
Carl W. Stiner, Chairman
General, USA (Ret.)
2nd Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Special Operations Command
John T. Carney, Jr., President
Colonel, USAF (Ret.)
Former Commander, 720th Special Tactics Group
You can also email Edie Rosenthal or Steve McLeary directly.
Very few people are getting responses from emails. No one that I know has heard back from either John Carney or Carl Stiner. They are either both very quiet on the issue or have not seen our letters.
ACTION Write a letter to the editor of the St. Petersburg Times. Their guidelines: Because of space limitations, letters should be of reasonable length (250-300 words maximum, as a rule). Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length. All letters must contain the writer's name, address and telephone number. (Addresses and telephone numbers will not be printed.)
ACTION - Write a letter to the editor of the Tampa Tribune. They have a 150 word limit. We've been warned not to send the exact same letter to both papers - please edit enough to make both original.
ACTION - for Florida Residents - file an online complaint with the Florida Attorney General.
You will need to call the charity first and complain. Remember the name of the person you spoke to. Send this information to the AG. You will also need to know their address, including Hillsborough County:
Special Operations Warrior Foundation
P.O. Box 13483, Tampa, FL 33681-3483
Physical Location: 4409 West El Prado Blvd, Tampa, FL 33629
Toll Free: (877) 337-7693
Fax: (813) 805-0567
ACTION: Attorneys General in other states; Find the list here.
ACTION: Email Charity Navigator and ask them about the legality of such fundraising.
ACTION: File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
ACTION - Friend SOWF on Facebook and leave a message.
ACTION - Spread the word. Facebook, Twitter, Email... it's the best way to grow a campaign.
ACTION - Email Glenn Beck, Ask whose honor is being restored and let us know if you get a response.
PRIDE * HONOR * SACRIFICE * DEDICATION * STRENGTH *