Stefanik guilty of stolen valor

In a tweet Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Elise M. Stefanik claimed that she wrote the Military Family Stability Act, got it passed and saw that it was signed into law. None of these assertions is true. Screenshot

WATERTOWN — It seemed absurd that a sitting member of Congress would demand journalists take her seriously while berating a political rival for the “scandal” she manufactured last week.

But U.S. Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, needed an outlet for her feigned indignation over what she called “intellectual theft and plagiarism.” She accused Democratic challenger Tedra Cobb of stealing her plan to assist military personnel. However, it turns out Stefanik is the one who claimed credit for a law that she doesn’t deserve.

On Tuesday, Cobb tweeted: “Stefanik has turned a blind eye to the bounties put on American soldiers. Supporting military service members and veterans cannot just be a political talking point. Learn more about how I plan to support our veterans and active-duty military personnel …” This was followed by a link to “Supporting Military Service Members & Veterans,” a portion of her campaign website under “Issues.”

One of her action points reads: “Support legislation such as the Military Family Stability Act, which provides flexible timing when moving for new assignments.” This concept in its final form was eventually inserted into the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which was signed into law Dec. 12, 2017, by President Donald Trump.

The wording on Cobb’s website shouldn’t have raised any eyebrows. But as she’s done before, Stefanik found a way to create a controversy and portray herself as a victim.

On the heels of Cobb’s statement, Stefanik tweeted this Tuesday: “TAXIN’ TEDRA COPIED & STOLE legislation that I actually PASSED for ‘her veterans plan’ … Taxin’ Tedra is such a failed & desperate candidate that she literally steals my legislation that is now law.”

A tad later, Stefanik tweeted: “RTing this THREAD because I find it shocking, SHOCKING that the media turns a blind eye to #TaxinTedra’s blatant plagiarism and copying of a bill I wrote, introduced, PASSED, & was signed into LAW!”

Stefanik didn’t believe that admonishing both Cobb and those of us in the news industry on Twitter would suffice. So she held a teleconference call with journalists Tuesday afternoon, during which she declared Cobb’s reference to this law to be “very concerning” and “stunning.” She cited other instances where Cobb promoted ideas that she had already worked on for armed service members and veterans. Because Cobb had linked her military talking points to her tweet Tuesday, Stefanik insisted this constituted her releasing her veterans plan that day. But this portion of Cobb’s website hasn’t been updated since March 29, 2018, when she ran against Stefanik for the first time.

It boggles my mind that someone who holds elective office on the federal level would publicly launch such a petty and contrived grievance. But Stefanik did not hold back.

“This is a stunning example of intellectual theft and plagiarism, and my opponent should apologize, not only to me and to north country veterans but frankly to all the voters in the district,” she said during the teleconference call, according to a story published Tuesday by the Watertown Daily Times.

Let’s get this straight: Cobb did not take credit for the Military Family Stability Act. She said that if elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, she would work with colleagues to pass bills that benefit military personnel and veterans — and she cited this measure as a good example. That’s it.

Stefanik’s stunt was nothing but an ego-driven temper tantrum. She demonstrated this by stating: “It would’ve been very different if it said, ‘I support Congresswoman Stefanik’s bill.’ But they didn’t say that; they announced it as part of Tedra Cobb’s plan for veterans.”

This really isn’t about stealing someone else’s work. Stefanik was merely peeved that Cobb didn’t link her name to the law. But should she receive recognition for this?

According to the Congress.gov website, Stefanik introduced the Military Family Stability Act (HR279) on Jan. 4, 2017, during a session of the 115th Congress. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Armed Services that day and then to the Subcommittee on Readiness several weeks later.

However, there’s no record of HR279 proceeding any further. So Stefanik’s assertion that she got her law passed is curious.

What’s more egregious is that she claimed in two tweets Tuesday that she “wrote” this law — which is false. A news release from her office dated Jan. 23, 2017, said the bill was previously introduced by then-U.S. Rep. Christopher Gibson, R-Kinderhook, during the 114th Congress.

HR4200 was referred to the Armed Services Committee on Dec. 9, 2015, and then to the Readiness Subcommittee on Jan. 19, 2016 (Stefanik was not a co-sponsor). Like HR279, this bill did not make it past this point.

In her recent diatribe, Stefanik failed to mention any of the initial sponsors of the Military Family Stability Act. This is hypocritical because she demanded that Cobb give credit where credit is due! Not only was this bill created by other House members, it also had been discussed within the U.S. Senate. And last week, Stefanik completely ignored the contributions of another fellow New York lawmaker.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N.Y., first introduced the Military Family Stability Act in the Senate with U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., in October 2015. They reintroduced the measure in May 2017.

U.S. Reps. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., and Susan Davis, D-Calif., introduced this bill in the House at the same time. Again, Stefanik was not a co-sponsor.

According to GovTrack.com, the bills sponsored by Wilson and Davis (HR2487) passed the House on July 14, 2017. The version sponsored by Gillibrand and Blunt (S1154) passed the Senate on Sept. 18, 2017.

The website reports that the final bill agreed upon by both chambers was the one that became part of the 2018 NDAA later that year. It appears that Stefanik didn’t tell the truth when she claimed to have written the Military Family Stability Act and that she got her bill passed and signed into law.

Congress.gov lists all the related bills to the 2018 NDAA: Both HR2487 and S1154 are among them. However, HR279 is nowhere to be found. According to GovTrack.com and Congress.gov, Stefanik has sponsored two pieces of legislation that have been signed into law — and HR279 wasn’t one of them.

Stefanik last week made a stand for professional integrity when it comes to seeking credit for someone else’s work. Will she be honest enough to accept some wise advice for violating this principle?

Just so no one asserts that I’m lifting material, I’ll fess up now that these aren’t my original thoughts. I’ll paraphrase another public figure, whom I’m sure Stefanik will instantly identify.

Stefanik owes an apology to Cobb for falsely accusing her of intellectual theft. She also should throw in an “I’m sorry” to all the legislators who actually wrote and passed the Military Family Stability Act for taking singular credit for their work. In addition, she needs to make amends with her 21st Congressional District constituents for perpetuating these fraudulent claims.

Armed forces personnel and veterans have a term for individuals who seek admiration for acts of bravery they don’t deserve: Stolen valor. And what Stefanik did is akin to this.

She used the military in seeking favorable public sentiment for herself — and herself alone — for a legislative measure that she (despite her claims) neither wrote nor had passed into law. Her biggest apology should go to these men and women for taking advantage of their place of honor in our society just to satisfy her political ambition.

Stefanik and her campaign staffers are fond of tossing around the term Taxin’ Tedra. Now if I had a juvenile mindset, I might use the nickname Stealin’ Stefanik as a counterbalance. But let’s not degrade ourselves to such childish antics, and I truly hope no one picks up the #StealinStefanik meme and spreads it around social media for the remainder of the campaign.

It’s infuriating to consider that our representative on Capitol Hill would believe that deceptive antics like this are good governance. What’s more pathetic is that so many voters agree with her.

Jerry Moore is the editorial page editor for the Watertown Daily Times. Readers may call him at 315-661-2369 or send emails to jmoore@wdt.net.

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(49) comments

zeitgeist

I'm glad to see the Post Star published your piece, Jerry. Our local press do us all a favor when they collaborate in exposing, and advocating for, the truth. I also like how your piece supports a lot of what the Post Star's Ken Tingley has been saying about Stefanik for quite some time now.

KRobbins

Thank you, Mr. Moore. I’m just sorry I didn’t see it until this morning in the Post Star. It was more than worth the price of subscription to the Daily Times. Gotta start following closer.

At the risk of upsetting any of the locals, I’ll just say I wish I could put you in for a Pulitzer.

Truthseeker

Wow,great job jerry,perry white is proud of you,finally standing up for america

zeitgeist

Jerry, thank you for your outstanding fact-checking journalism.

On two occasions, The Post-Star editorial board invited Elise Stefanik to pledge not to lie. On both occasions, she refused. Every constituent in the 21st district, regardless of their party affiliation, should have viewed her refusal as appallingly unacceptable, utterly confounding, and worthy of serious anxiety and inquiry.

Cobb pledged.

When Stefanik refused to pledge twice, imagine what she was thinking about her constituents, the north country, The Post-Star and its folks, and Truth, integrity, accountability, decency, and democracy. Her arrogance and deception are astounding.

In letting the pledge-matter roll, we, her constituents, enabled her lie at the RNC.

Furthermore, we've collectively witnessed the transformation she's undergone. It began the day she shared the stage at Fort Drum with Trump, and has morphed into what has become her deceptive, exploitive, attack dog, fear-mongering, divisive, and lying manner of "representing" us. Our failure to loudly and collectively admonish her transformation, from the standpoint of good governance and human decency, has enabled it.

It's possible Stefanik would be a better woman and politician, and a certainty that the 21st district would be a better place, were we better constituents.

Pitbull

You want to become a better constituent, zeitgeist, have at it. But deceptive, exploitive, attack dog, fear mongering, divisive, and lying ..." Holy cow, you are now describing Kamala Harris, Adam Schiff, Blumenthal, Schumer,and most of all,, Crazy Nancy, to a tee. Go Elise.

zeitgeist

Pitbull, Jerry's piece is about Stefanik, so I wrote about Stefanik. Say what you think about what I wrote instead of shifting the conversation to Kamala Harris, Adam Schiff, etc. Don't steer or commandeer the conversation into your orbit. It's egocentric and disruptive. Unless you're needy, your orbit doesn't need a captive audience, the conversation does. If you want to come off strong and powerful, like a Pitbull, nourish the intellectual rigor of the conversation.

Newsjunkie39a

Great post, zeitgeist. Same is true of your reply to Pitbull's diversionary nonsense post.

Pitbull

NJ and Zeity,

I'll pay heed when you apply this standard to liberal commenters. You haven't in the past and I doubt you will now. There are several who routinely do what you call diversion and I haven't heard a peep from you. Typical liberal high and mighty hypocrisy.

Hoosier

Trumpies.........Making America Great Again, Again! Remember the Alamo, Bengazi and that Pizza joint in DC!

Holmes

Taxin Tedra can not compete with someone who was a 3rd night speaker at the RNC Convention. That is a fact. What remains baffling is why would the democrats run her again? Talk about a waste of money. But articles like this draw out the hatred and vitriol of the left for sure. Good for selling newspapers I guess...

Halljon

Yes, it's a fact in your world of alternative facts. Stefanik has shown she has gone full Trump. Trump wants to destroy NY because its a blue state. Having such a platform at the RNC Convention shows how out of touch Stefanik is with the issues important to NY. Really, China is more important than the Russian bounty for our troops?

Pitbull

Yes sir, China is more important than your latest talking point about Russian bounties. China now has the largest Navy on the world and has recently doubled the number of nuclear warheads targeted against the US. You need to do your homework and stop listening to Dem talking points!

KRobbins

someone who was a 3rd night speaker at the RNC Convention.

You say that like it’s a good thing. We’ll see in 60 days. Tedra Cobb has conducted herself with honor, decency and maturity in two campaigns. She has not stooped to name-calling or any of the other childishness of the Stefanik camp. I’m old enough to remember the little spy she used in 2018.

The wording on Cobb’s website shouldn’t have raised any eyebrows. But as she has done before, Stefanik found a way to create a controversy and portray herself as a victim.

This is one of the least damaging things in the editorial, but I couldn’t help but think of the Elsie the cow episode and what a victim she made of herself there.

I know you want to think Stefanik is going to win by some astronomical amount. She ran with Cuomo on the ballot last time. Her boss is on there this time. In two months plus we’ll see.

Pitbull

I counted up six slobbering "Thank you Mr. Moore" comments. The pitchfork crowd is really turned on by the anti Stefanik rhetoric. I believe they are organized in some fashion. It is interesting that they only comment on NY-21, Trump, and racism, etc. Only I commented on the article about trail permits in the Dacks. Where are all you faux environmentalists? [sneaky] OH yeah, its all politics, all of the time![crying]

Halljon

It's called respect!! When someone something one approves of, you thank them. Mr. Moore's column was an honest response from an objective source. I commented on the faux opposition to the 2017 tax bill by Stefanik. Imagine, people commenting on NY21 about the MOC from NY21. Shameful….. Not.

rdsouth

I comment on lots of stuff. And "we are opponents on different sides, I rest my case," is hardly a winning argument.

Pitbull

What?

Lacroim

Thank You Mr. Moore for writing this piece and bringing to further light what many of us have known about Stefanik for a long time now. This article exemplifies every thing our Congresswoman truly is, a do nothing, lying, cheating, fake crises actress and clinical narcissist, a Trump level bully, who has no other concern then the advancement of her own political career, who only uses our the brave and hard working professionals in our military for nothing more then photo opportunities.

Just a horrible Representative and person....

Thank you again for this in-depth piece of journalism.

M. LaCroix. Washington County NY and NY CD 21 Constituent.

rockloper

[thumbup]

Pitbull

Horrible person? Are you talking about Biden or Harris? I heard Biden, while loopy, is a nice guy. Must be Harris.

minder

[thumbup][thumbup]

Pitbull

Wow, Jerry, this article brought in a stream of comments from Elise haters! Congratulation are in order, as you are quoted on Tedra's website today! OK, I looked this up thoroughly. I see that there was an H.R. 2487. There was a senate bill. There was H.R. 279, that Elise sponsored. H.R. 279 appears to have come to a dead end. However, do you understand how these Congressional records reflect when one bill is folded into another? Somehow it became part of the NDAA. I know I don't know the process and I'm pretty sure you don't either. I do know, from my career as a military officer, that what you read on the surface is a fraction of the communication, written and otherwise, that was necessary to get a new policy through. Since I don't understand the complete picture, I would give some grace when considering the "I wrote it" statement. I see you are in a direct social media confrontation with the Congresswoman. Don't you think it's a bit extreme to say her actions are like those who wear around an unearned Medal of Honor or Silver Star? Don't you think is a bit extreme to say, "What's more pathetic is that so many voters agree with her,"? Thank you sir, may I have another? You have ventured into Hillary's "Deplorable Land" with that comment. I would like to mention this: Tedra Cobb, whether she wrote her website 3 years ago or yesterday, does not have a clue about the most important factor that the military needs. Combat power! Counseling, support, Arms for Farms, and Peer to Peer Mentoring are reactive programs to help those who have returned. Those fighting the next war need someone who can provide jets, ships, tanks, guns, ammo, and solid leadership! Tedra Cobb doesn't understand any of this and won't provide it. Elise will. Vote Stefanik on November 3rd.

rdsouth

"We don't know the process. There are so many communications we don't see." Her ways are mysterious. Since we know nothing and can know nothing "I wrote and passed the bill," is as good as any other statement so we must believe her.

rockloper

[thumbup]

KRobbins

[thumbup]

Halljon

It's so interesting and enlightening that whenever a right wing commenter has trouble countering a valid point, one of the first things used to counterpoint is "but Hillary!!!". I was waiting for Benghazi to be thrown in to boot. Stefanik has been called out for trying to pull the wool over the eyes of her constituents. Do we need a MOC who is also pushing for programs that the Defense Dept. has said that they don't need or want. It's all about making Stefanik look good, and when that's the focus, NY21 gets short changed.

Pitbull

Mo

MOC?

Newsjunkie39a

Bravo, Mr. Moore! Stefanik seems to have been negatively influenced by her association with the hack Lenny Alcivar two years ago. That's when the cheap shots at her opponent began. Now she's joined the Trump harem, and believes that if you throw enough excrement at a wall, some of it is bound to stick. I'm hoping that both she and the Orange Carbuncle get bounced in the upcoming election.

rockloper

[thumbup]

KRobbins

I’ve been opposed to her since she and so many others cynically ran on “Repeal and Replace Obamacare” when they knew they couldn’t repeal it with Obama in office so didn’t have to worry about a replacement. We saw in March 2017 that they still didn’t have one. Trump is on the verge of getting the Supreme Court to kill ACA lock, stock and pre-existing conditions. Needless to say they still have no replacement.

Halljon

In response to Mr. Moore thought of countering the "Taxin' Tedra" name calling, one could use "Catch and Release Elise", so called when she voted against the 2017 Tax Bill when she was part of GOP Whip team drumming up support for the bill. Through the "catch and release " method Stefanik was allowed to vote against the bill when the required vote total was reached because it looked better for her at home due to the provision that set lower limits for New Yorkers for deductibility of state and local taxes. If her vote was needed to pass you can bet the farm on the fact that she would have voted for the Tax Bill. That's Stefanik's modus operandi, making herself look good back home regardless of whether it's the truth or not.

rockloper

I've said this before as has many others. stefanik could care less about NC residents.

Pitbull

Thanks so much for clearing this up! It really adds to our corporate understanding.

KRobbins

[thumbup] Thank you for that reminder of how that went down.

Halljon

Thank you Mr. Moore for putting the time in to research and rebut Stefanik's baseless lies. Stefanik is using her Hero's favorite tactic of "just say it and they will believe". It doesn't have to be true. It's the same tactic used when Stefanik sent the WDT a press release accusing me of call her a pig. Your paper and other media saw right away it was BS, and did nothing with the accusation. It was disappointing that the media did not pick up on the Stefanik Campaign's attempt to smear a person's reputation for political gain, but I understood it was much smaller an issue than we see in the case Mr. Moore is mentioning. Stefanik is banking on Trumpmania to bring her across the finish line in November. The North Country is seeing how Stefanik is more concerned with attaining a powerful position in the minority in Washington than representing the NY21.

Pitbull

Yay, Trumpmania! How about Bidenmania? Wait...wake up Uncle Joe...

Empathy

Thank you for your fine research and reporting there of. Our Democracy relies on truth in order to survive.

rockloper

[thumbup]

zeitgeist

[thumbup]

Holmes

Cover

Holmes

https://www.westernjournal.com/clueless-dem-voices-support-law-written-opponent-failed-attempt-bash/

Should about Cobb..

rockloper

Shows Jerry did more research than The Western Journal.

rdsouth

Great research.

rockloper

Thanks for delving into this Jerry. stefanik has adopted two characteristics of the man baby 'president' we have - naming calling and taking credit for something they had nothing to do with. Mark my words the next such act will be taking credit for bringing china to its knees economically when in fact it is recording flooding that will cause it.

Pitbull

Thats a good one, rockloper. The "man-baby" president is the only one who uses name calling.

Farmer Liz

Thank you for this column! District 21 voters need to see that the Empress has no clothes. She lies, cheats and name-calls just like her hero. We need Tedra's honesty in 2020.

Gracie

Tedra

Holmes

Tedra -14

rockloper

Tedra

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