She’s still on active duty.
In January, Chelsea Manning announced she filed papers to run for the Senate in Maryland, making her an opponent of Sen. Ben Cardin.
It turns out, Manning may not be eligible to run because “she is on a technical form of unpaid active duty.” This goes against “Department of Defense regulations that prohibit military personnel from seeking public office.”
The Washington Post continued:
Shorty after she launched her Senate bid, conservative media questioned her eligibility to run. A Daily Caller headline read, “Former Military Lawyers: Chelsea Manning Subject To Prosecution For Running For Office.”
Manning, who is running as an anti-establishment alternative to Cardin, shrugged off the apparent conflict.
“If you ask me, this doesn’t sound like a story beyond the conservative blogosphere,” Kelly Wright, a spokeswoman for the Manning campaign, said in a statement.
Yeah, well, the rules still apply to you, Manning.
Manning received a 35 year sentence in 2013 and dishonorable discharge from the Army due to “passing government secrets to WikeLeaks in violation of the Espionage Act.” She served seven years of that sentence.
It’s important to note that former President Barack Obama only commuted her sentence and did not pardon her. Manning has continued to appeal her conviction, which means she is still on active duty even until that ends. USA Today reported last May:
While Manning’s court-martial conviction remains under appeal, she will remain a private in the Army, said Dave Foster, an Army spokesman. As an active duty soldier, Manning will continue to receive health care and have access to commissaries and military exchanges, but she will not be paid.
“Pvt. Manning is statutorily entitled to medical care while on excess leave in an active duty status, pending final appellate review,” Foster said.
The Army refused to disclose the other terms of Manning’s release, six years before her eligibility for parole, citing privacy concerns. She had been sentenced to 35 years for releasing hundreds of thousands of secret documents to WikiLeaks. Manning appeared at court martial in the uniform of an enlisted man.
Like all soldiers, Manning will be assigned to an Army post but it is unclear where and to whom she will report.
Maryland verified that Manning meets the Constitution criteria to make a run: “she’s a U.S. citizen, a Maryland resident and at least 30 years old, said Jared DeMarinis, director of the candidacy and campaign division of the Maryland Board of Elections.”
A registered voter can file a lawsuit to challenge her qualifications. But Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway points out that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Powell v. McCormack may make a lawsuit useless. The court ruled that “the only bars to eligibility to serve in Congress are the ones set forth in the Constitution.”
Eugene Fidell, a military expert and professor of military of justice at Yale Law School, said that the defense department “could send Manning a letter, put the case back into disciplinary mode or even gear up another court martial.” Fidell has doubts the military will do anything because “[S]ervices don’t like to create martyrs.”
But in all honesty, I thought this was all a publicity stunt for the attention seeking Manning, who loves to splash herself on magazine covers and fill her tweets with emojis. Despite Manning’s popularity with the left, experts have considered Cardin as a very safe candidate to win his third term. He won in 2006 to replace Sen. Paul Sarbanes. His re-election in 2012 came easy when he demolished his Democratic opponents and then his Republican opponent in the general election. Ballotpedia showed that Cardin defeated Republican candidate Dan Bongino by 780,737 votes.
The fact that Cardin is considered an overwhelming favorite may be another reason why the military might just brush this aside and not take any action.DONATE
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