Congressional Candidate Anna Paulina Luna has been circulating a widely used picture of her in a special operations uniform with a military dog as a major cornerstone of her campaign with all sorts of veteran and military language leaving the impression this was her role while in service. It implies she was a member of the elite special operations forces in the Air Force, that she is a combat operator with combat experience (as all special operators go to combat rather regularly), and that she was some kind of military dog handler.
We reached out to the Luna campaign to attempt to ascertain her real military experience.
Was she a K-9 handler involved in counter narcotics or EOD?
Was she a special operations forces kinetic energy high-speed low drag front lines tip of the spear type?
Did she ever deploy?
She is certainly giving that appearance. For all we know she had some admin job in the Air Force, never deployed, and never handled K-9s.
If this photo of hers is a farce, then she would be guilty of stolen valor, which would not only disqualify her from office, she could be in legal trouble.
According to Wikipedia, Stolen Valor is a term that means:
“Stolen valor is a term for the behavior of military imposters: individuals who lie about their military service.”
Some states, including Florida, have even passed laws banning Stolen Valor.
Specifically, Florida mentions that “he or she is not authorized to wear while soliciting for charitable contributions or for the purpose of material gain.”
A Florida statute reads:
817.312 Unlawful use of uniforms, medals, or insignia.—(1) A person may not misrepresent himself or herself as a member or veteran of the United States Air Force, United States Army, United States Coast Guard, United States Marine Corps, United States Navy, or National Guard or wear the uniform of or any medal or insignia authorized for use by members or veterans of the United States Air Force, United States Army, United States Coast Guard, United States Marine Corps, United States Navy, or the National Guard which he or she is not authorized to wear while soliciting for charitable contributions or for the purpose of material gain. This section does not prohibit persons in the theatrical profession from wearing such uniforms, medals, or insignia while actually engaged in such profession. (2) A person who violates subsection (1) commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.History.—s. 2, ch. 2010-181; s. 2, ch. 2013-126.
On Luna’s official campaign website, her time in the Air Force is briefly mentioned in the “Meet Anna” section but does not mention anything about handling service dogs, being deployed, or being a special operator. It simply states:
“Instead, Anna worked her way out of the welfare system. At 19 years old, she joined the United States Air Force where she graduated top of her class. In the military, Anna realized her love of country and the satisfaction of service over self. It was also where she met the love of her life, her husband, Andy and found her home in Florida…
While Anna loved serving in the Air Force, ultimately her American dream was to follow in her mother’s footsteps and attend college. So at the end of her enlistment she used her GI Bill to pursue a degree at the University of West Florida.”
Here is an actual picture of Anna Paulina Luna in the Air Force (last name is not Luna, therefore, she blurred it out):
Kinda looks like one of those non-deployable rear echelon types to us. But we will never know.
What is wrong about this situation is that Luna is raising hundreds of thousands of dollars off of a lie. If she is wearing a fake uniform and giving a fake perception of service, she needs to come clean and apologize.
She is sending fundraising emails out making unsuspecting donors think she is a combat vet special operator. Here are a few images of one email (and there are many more like this, (believe me):
She is even putting a military disclaimer on her emails, implying that this was her actual service uniform “Military images and information do not imply endorsement by DOD [Department of Defense] or any service branch.”
At a very minimum on these emails, she needs to make it very clear (this is not my actual military uniform and I was never in special operations, this is a modeling photo and I pose in different outfits to include fake military uniforms and bikinis).
We reached out to the campaign about the uniform and campaign issues and did not get an immediate response from the official Facebook campaign page, although it was marked as “seen”. Previously when we reported on Anna Paulina Luna’s previous campaigning improprieties (she deleted a video calling for amnesty), she reported that “dirty political operatives” were trying to hurt her campaign but did not directly address the issues.
We think she may have been referring to us although it’s hard to say. Will she directly address them now, apologize and accept that she is busted, or hope that enough people don’t notice?
What is even more bizarre, it appears she recently deleted a tweet attempting to acquire a military service dog to continue the façade of her fake service (tweet no longer available):
We previously exposed Luna’s weak amnesty positions where she deleted a video that appeared to be in support of amnesty for DACA recipients.
Luna is running against other Republicans for a chance to take out Obama aficionado and Democrat incumbent Charlie Crist. Other candidates running on the GOP side are George Buck, an Army Veteran and disaster response expert, Amanda Makki, a lobbyist, and several others. The list finishes with Matt Becker, Sheila Griffin, and Sharon Barry Newby according to Ballotpedia.
UPDATE: Instead of responding to any of the allegations, it appears as though Media Right News has been blocked:
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none of this is stolen valor. not a bit.
couldn’t care less about this person, and this isn’t valid to claim it is.
generic BDU’s and nothing but a flag patch? nah.
it’d be different if she claimed in actual text or speech a specific branch/detachment she wasn’t in, or wore medals/claimed honors she didn’t earn. _that_ is SV.
but since she did serve, (non-combat or in combat, either one qualifies), then she can claim she served, and is technically a vet. so long as the discharge wasn’t dishonorable, or specific flavors of less than honorable, that’s fine for her to claim. and is all she does claim in that campaign, regardless of how well it does or doesn’t sit with other vets.
this articles attempt to call it stolen valor is more egregious than her campaigning off her service record.
i’m all for tagging SV as much as the next person, but it needs to be actual SV, and not just being salty because of .
do better, Ian. it’s no wonder she blocked you, this is tripe.