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Why Chelsea Manning's Senate Run Is Illegal, And She Could Be Prosecuted For It

It's official: Chelsea Manning is running for Senate. The controversial candidate filed the paperwork to run as the Democratic candidate in Maryland in 2018, long before the deadline loomed.

She tweeted her certificate of candidacy from the Maryland State Board of Elections on Thursday. Campaign ads are already in the works and her supporters are gearing up for the election.

One thing that's being overlooked, however, is the fact that Manning's attempt to run is illegal, and she could be prosecuted for it.

Manning mad herself a household name when it was discovered that she leaded classified information from the military on WikiLeaks. At the time, Manning was still known as Bradley Manning and was an intelligence analyst in Iraq.

Manning was arrested and charged with 22 offenses for leaking more than 700,000 sensitive documents. The transgendered soldier was sentenced to 35 years in prison, but after seven years, former President Barack Obama commuted her sentence just days before ending his last term.

The charges and conviction don't prevent Manning from running for office, but her military status does. Manning is still currently listed as having active duty status.

According to federal and military regulations, people on active duty are prohibited from participating in partisan political activities, such as actively supporting a candidate or associating with political parties and organizations.

Manning remains on active duty on excess leave due to her court-martial status when she violated the Espionage Actg. The court-martial is still underway, and until the appeals process is complete, she must remain active. She is on non-pay status, though still is entitled to government health care benefits.

“It’s prohibited for the obvious reason that you don’t want someone serving two masters on active-duty,” said law professor and former military lawyer Victor M. Hansen.

Retired Army judge Dru Brenner-Beck tells the Daily Caller that as long as Manning is listed as active duty, attempting to run may be flirting with legal consequences. Running would subject her to another court martial.

“Her activities campaigning for herself and fundraising for herself may also violate other provisions of the DoD Directive, themselves separately punishable under the UCMJ, art. 92,” says Brenner-Beck.

Manning could get special permission from Secretary of Defense James Mattis, which could be arranged due to her excess leave. However, until that is granted, she could be leaving herself open to prosecution.

The question is, will she be prosecuted if she proceeds to run for office? President Donald Trump has not been a big supporter of Manning since Obama commuted her sentence.

He was outraged by her release, blasted Obama for it, and has called Manning an 'ungrateful traitor'.

Hanson doesn't believe prosecution would happen, though. Because she's on excess leave, "...she has less connection with the military than GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham did when he was an Air Force reserve judge advocate general and certainly less than Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster does while serving as national security adviser to Donald Trump.”

Some wonder about the implications if the Pentagon doesn't prosecute Manning. Will other members of the military on active duty be encouraged to risk political activism or running for office?

If they believe that breaking these regulations will be overlooked, it's possible, even if unlikely.
Source: Daily Caller
Photo: Daily Caller, RT, Town Hall

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