A Marine sergeant who made online comments vowing to stand up to the Constitution and criticizing President Barack Obama and his policies is facing dismissal from the Corps for his actions.
According to The Associated Press, Sgt. Gary Stein, who started a Facebook page called Armed Forces Tea Party, was informed by the Marines that he violated a Pentagon policy barring troops from political activities.
The nine-year Marine veteran said he started the page to encourage fellow service members to exercise their free speech rights. Stein was first cautioned by his superiors at Camp Pendleton in 2010, after he launched the Facebook page and criticized Obama’s healthcare overhaul. He volunteered to take down the page while he reviewed the rules at the request of his superiors. Upon determining that he was not in violation of the rules, Stein relaunched the page.
Last week, in response to a post in which Stein said he would refuse to follow unlawful orders from the President, Stein’s superiors barred him from using social media sites on government computers.
The Marines say Stein failed to follow Pentagon directives that say military personnel in uniform cannot sponsor a political club; participate in any TV or radio program or group discussion that advocates for or against a political party, candidate or cause; or speak at any event promoting a political movement. Officers also are not allowed to use contemptuous words against senior officials, including the defense secretary or the President.
Stein said in a statement: “The allegations drummed up against me are no more than an agenda by the Marine Corps to use me as an example. I have never spoken on behalf of the Marine Corps or in uniform. I have stayed within guidelines DOD Directive 1344.10 and made sure to. If I am guilty of anything it would be that I am American, a freedom loving Conservative, hell bent on defending the constitution and preserving Americas greatness. I am no more the Leader of the Armed Forces Tea Party than any other of 18,000 members are. I just happen to be normal guy who started a facebook page and who hold the Tea Party values close my heart and believes the Tea Party can enact real change in this county. We are all leaders in the Tea Party!”