UPDATE, 3 p.m., Pentagon says disclaimer required for retired service members
In response to an inquiry about Sen. Mitch Toryanski's using images of himself in uniform in campaign material, a Defense Department spokeswoman said Tuesday that the Department's directive applies to all service members, including retirees like Toryanski.
Here is the text of the reply from Eileen M. Lainez, a spokeswoman in the Defense Press Office,
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense:
"DoD policy on retired members' use of uniform photographs in campaign literature can be found in DoD Instruction 1344.10, Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces, para 4.3.
Members not on active duty who are nominees or candidates for covered offices may, in their campaign literature (including web sites, videos, television, and conventional print advertisements):
(1) Use or mention their military rank or grade and military service affiliation, but they must clearly indicate their retired or reserve status.
(2) Include their current or former specific military duty, title, or position, or photographs in military uniform, when displayed with other non-military biological details. This must be accompanied by a clearly displayed disclaimer that the information or photographs do not imply official endorsement.
(a) Use of photographs, drawings, and other similar media formats of the member in uniform cannot be the primary graphic representation in any campaign material.
(b) Depictions of the member in uniform cannot misrepresent their actual performance of duty."
UPDATE: 7:50 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6: I spoke this morning with a lieutenant colonel in the Department of Defense Press Operations Center. I have forwarded him the mailer, Sen. Toryanski's response and the response from the Idaho National Guard spokesman. I will update when I hear back from the Pentagon.
Sen. Mitch Toryanski, R-Boise, is depicted in his Army uniform on the address side of a two-sided mailer titled, "Tired of ugly politics?"
The photo is of Toryanski, a retired colonel in the Idaho Army National Guard, receiving a framed photograph and shaking hands with an unidentified officer. A smaller image of Toryanski at his desk in the Senate appears beside the uniform photo. On the reverse of the mailer is a large photo of Toryanski descending stairs in the Capitol.
The freshman lawmaker said any violation of the Pentagon directive on political activity was unintentional.
"We’ve used this picture in mailers before," Toryanski said in an email Monday afternoon. "This differs from (Vaughn) Ward in that the picture in question is one of three, it is not the primary one and there is no reference to a title or past military service. Moreover, there is no implication of official sponsorship, approval or endorsement by the DoD. If there needs to be a disclaimer, then omission was an oversight."
In 2010, the Pentagon asked then congressional candidate Vaughn Ward to remove an online ad of him in uniform without a disclaimer.
The Pentagon allows candidates to mention their military affiliation, "BUT they must clearly indicate their retired or reserve status," according to the Department of Defense directive, "Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces."
The directive also says photographs of candidates in uniform "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...."
The directive offers an example disclaimer: "John Doe is a member of the Army National Guard. Use of his military rank, job titles, and photographs in uniform does not imply endorsement by the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense."
In addition, the directive says photographs of candidates in uniform are allowed "when displayed with other non-military biographical details."
Col. Tim Marsano, spokesman for the Idaho Army Guard, said the Guard has "no oversight of his activities" because of Toryanski's retired status, but said the Guard's legal officer reviewed the matter, citing the provision requiring disclosure of retired status and a disclaimer.
"We think this directive applies to retired officers, but you may want to run that down with Pentagon Public Affairs," Marsano said.
Pentagon Public Affairs did not answer the phone after 5 p.m. EST and did not reply immediately to an electronic request for comment Monday afternoon. A voicemail left with a representative of the Army Voting Program at 5:15 p.m. EST was not returned.
Toryanski's campaign website also includes a small image of Toryanski in uniform, joined by his family.
Toryanski's "About Mitch" page is topped by a banner photo of a street sign reading "S. West Point Pl." Toryanski, a lawyer, graduated from West Point, and, according to his website, "Upon graduation, Mitch was commissioned an officer of infantry and subsequently led American servicemen and women for over 30 years including service as Inspector General for the Idaho National Guard."
A disclaimer did not appear on Toryanski's website as of 5 p.m. Monday. The mailer in question is titled "Setting Record Straight Mailer" on the home page.
Toryanski faces Democrat Branden Durst in Tuesday's election in a rematch of a Southeast Boise contest divided by 103 votes in 2010.
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