FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 14, 2016
CONTACT: Amy Runyon-Harms, Executive Director at [email protected]
DENVER: ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online advocacy organization, called for a legal investigation of Republican candidate and state representative Jon Keyser as to whether he violated legal rules that prohibit members of the Air Force Reserve from conducting political activities while on active duty. The letter requesting a formal investigation was sent to the Judge Advocate General of the Air Force this week.
“We believe Jon Keyser is lying and needs to be investigated,” stated Amy Runyon-Harms, the Executive Director of ProgressNow Colorado.
In December, Keyser–a member of the Air Force Reserve–conducted a political interview with the Colorado Statesman newspaper in which Keyser himself confirms he was soliciting multi-million-dollar commitments for a US Senate bid while serving “in uniform.” These actions are in contradiction of rules prohibiting political activity, including granting media interviews and “behind-the-scenes” campaigning.
“We believe Keyser conducted political activity in uniform and is now lying about it,” stated Runyon-Harms. “He should be investigated to determine the truth.”
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January 11, 2016
The Honorable Christopher F. Burne
c/o Robert Williams, AF/JA
1420 Air Force Pentagon Washington, DC 20330-1420
Dear Lieutenant General Burne:
I am writing to request a formal investigation of the recent campaign activities of Jon Keyser, a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, in potential violation of Air Force Instruction (AFI) 51-902 regarding prohibited political activities and in potential violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
In December 2015, Keyser made statements to and answered questions from the Colorado Statesman newspaper, which appeared on December 10, 2015, regarding his likely candidacy for the U.S. Senate:
“’I’m strongly considering it,’ Keyser said in an interview with The Colorado Statesman… ‘Right now I’m focused on national security and serving our country in uniform as a member of the Air Force Reserve.’” (Emphasis added.)
As the article reports:
“Keyser, who holds the rank of major in the Reserve, has been deployed on a training mission in Florida this month…he returns to Colorado next week.”
The article also notes—as provided by Keyser and/or his spokesperson that:
“Following a recent visit to Washington, D.C. — Keyser attended the Republican Jewish Coalition’s presidential forum luncheon last week as an invited guest on a day off from his duties — he received $3 million in commitments of soft money to back his campaign, said a source familiar with the matter.”
Potential Violations of the AFI 51-902
Pursuant to Section 6.3 of the AFI 51-902 any member on active duty may not participate in any campaign activities. This includes open and active campaign and all “behind-the-scenes” activities.
Specifically, subsection 6.3.2 states that a member may not “Make statements to or answer questions from the news media regarding political issues…unless specifically authorized to do so by an appropriate supervisor or commander.
Here, Keyser appears to have violated Section 6.3 of AFI 51-902 in making a statement and answering questions from the news media—the Colorado Statesman newspaper — regarding political issues—his candidacy for the U.S. Senate.
In addition, the AFI 51-902 also contains a prohibition for Air Force Members on Active Duty for less than 30 days. Under Section 9.3 of 51-902 an Air Force Member on Active Duty will “refrain from participating in any political activity while in military uniform and from using government facilities for political activities.”
Here, Keyser appears to have violated Section 9.3 by both participating in political activity— being interviewed by the Colorado Statesman newspaper while he was “serving his country in uniform” as he states in his interview.
Elements of the Prohibition and Penalty
A member who violates these prohibitions is subject to prosecution under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for failure to obey an order.
The elements for such prosecution is that:
1. That a lawful general of order or regulation existed. 2. That the accused was duty bound to obey this regulation or order. 3. That the accused disobeyed or violated this order/ regulation by an act, behavior or alleged intent.
Pursuant to Section 92 of the UCMJ, the maximum punishment an accused could face is dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all allowances and pay and 2 years confinement as maximum punishment.
We believe that Jon Keyser, may have violated all three of these elements with his recent activities and thus we ask for you to pursue a formal investigation.
Executive Director, ProgressNow Colorado