Despite claims that recent Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia has “nothing to do” with a website that clearly promotes his candidacy for NY-27, Bellavia’s “friend” and political consultant has taken it upon himself to make that decision for him.
Political Huckster Michael Caputo, who ran David Bellavia’s first campaign for NY-27 into the ground back in 2012, recently published a website in an attempt to gain support for a Bellavia run for Congress in NY27.
It’s so much like the 2012 campaign website that Caputo admitted to WBFO he scrapped most of the information from Bellavia’s pervious campaign website:
“A lot of this is based on the 2012 website. Many of the issues haven’t changed. And after speaking with David on a regular basis for seven years after [the 2012 campaign], I know exactly where he stands.”
The Draft Bellavia website is chock full of pictures of Bellavia in uniform as well as receiving his medal of honor, wrapped around specific campaign issues that clearly represent conservative politics.
Any attempt to call this anything but a “campaign website” is horribly misguided and quite frankly, complete B.S.
Until recently, Mr. Bellavia was under military obligations regarding his receiving the Medal of Honor for his service in Iraq on June 25th.
Military regulations bar members of the armed forces, including retired members and reservists, from wearing their uniforms:
“during or in connection with furthering political activities … when an inference of official sponsorship for the activity or interest may be drawn.”
But there’s an exception for non-active-duty service members who are candidates themselves. Images of those candidates in uniform must include a disclaimer and not be the “primary graphic representation” on a campaign billboard, brochure, website or ad.
Notably missing from the website is any disclaimer or statement that Bellavia is not endorsed by the Department of Defense.
Any such military 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 (or the Department of Homeland Security for members of the Coast Guard); e.g., “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.”
If it looks like a campaign website and feels like a campaign website…it’s a campaign website. Mr.
Caputin Caputo knows better.
Bellavia is currently serving a tour of active duty with the U.S. Army. As such, he is prohibited by the Hatch Act of getting involved in certain partisan political activities—including running for office.