It seems like Ryan Zinke just can’t help getting himself into ethical and legal messes. Whether it’s something as trivial as crashing a campaign bus or something as serious as outing the Navy SEAL Team that killed Osama bin Laden or coordinating illegally with a Super PAC to win an election, Zinke just never seems to know when to stop.
The latest? He’s once again using the insignia for the Navy SEALS to promote his political candidacy.
Back in 2012, when Zinke was the chairman of Special Operations for America, reporter Adam Weinstein inquired about that organization’s use of symbols for American military forces. It turns out that candidates and political groups simply can’t do it:
According to the Department of Defense, each service branch’s symbols are trademarked, and their commercial and political use is tracked closely by military officials to prevent any appearance of the military’s endorsing a partisan or for-profit cause. The officials said they will be contacting the group and asking them to stop using the insignia or face potential legal action.
It would appear that Senator Zinke forgot that lesson, as his campaign bus uses the insignia for the Navy SEALS, as this picture from the Zinke Twitter account shows. To its right is the SEAL insignia.
In his campaign ads, Senator Zinke repeatedly talks about the values he learned from his ancestors who settled Montana. Surely those people had the integrity to respect the non-partisan role of the U.S. military and the regulations that protect that.