Times ClaimCheck

Military photo policy violated again

2011-04-30T00:00:00Z Military photo policy violated againBy Marisa Kwiatkowski marisa.kwiatkowski@nwi.com, (219) 662-5333 nwitimes.com

Two more region candidates for public office violated U.S. Department of Defense directives for how they used military photos in their campaign materials, The Times found.

Merrillville Clerk-Treasurer Eugene "Gene" Guernsey and East Chicago Councilman Robert Garcia both violated directives that require candidates to include 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" when using military photos.

The directives apply to active, nonactive and retired members of the military.

The Times' review was prompted by a complaint to the ClaimCheck initiative, through which reporters seek to verify claims made by candidates running for local public offices.

Guernsey used a photo of himself in naval uniform and standing next to comedian Bob Hope while Garcia used a photo of himself in a U.S. Army uniform. Neither campaign flier included a disclaimer.

"It is what it is," Guernsey said, adding he was unaware of any directives requiring disclaimers.

He said his use of the photo was more about his encounters with Bob Hope in the 1960s than it was about his military service.

Earlier this month, The Times reported that Hammond Democratic mayoral candidates Tom McDermott Jr. and James "Jim" Premeske violated the U.S. Department of Defense directives.

Garcia said he read The Times' earlier article regarding McDermott and Premeske but already had printed his campaign materials. Garcia served in the U.S. Army both in the reserves and active duty.

"I'm proud of my service," he said. "I served my country and serve my community."

Government sources say it is unlikely any of the candidates would face repercussions for how the photos were used.

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