BOSTON — U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., is calling for passage of a bill that he said would punish those who seek to benefit by lying about receiving the Medal of Honor and other top military honors.

Brown is pushing the bill after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the original version of the 2006 Stolen Valor Act. That law – enacted when the U.S. was at war in Afghanistan and Iraq – was aimed at people making phony claims of heroism.

The justices called such false claims of military heroism “contemptible,” but said they were protected by the First Amendment right to free speech.

The government had defended the law as necessary to punish impostors and protect the integrity of military medals.

Brown is hoping to ease those constitutional concerns by narrowing the focus of the bill to those who seek to profit in some way from their misrepresentations. That profit could be either financial or in some other material way – such as an award, job, honor or anything else of value.

The language in the bill targets an individual who, “with intent to obtain anything of value, knowingly makes a misrepresentation regarding his or her military service.”

Brown said that while false claims of military honors may be protected under the First Amendment, they’re still “cowardly and wrong.”


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