Air Force Reproves Senate Candidate Doug Collins on Campaign Ads in Uniform

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Chaplain (Maj.) Doug Collins
Chaplain (Maj.) Doug Collins has been in the Air Force Reserve since 2001. (U.S. Air Force)

House Republican Doug Collins of Georgia has gotten a warning from the Air Force about a U.S. Senate campaign ad that shows him in uniform, but does not include the required disclaimer.

Collins, a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve, was informed, along with his campaign team, about Defense Department regulations stating that candidates "may include photographs of themselves in military uniform in campaign materials when accompanied by a disclaimer," an Air Force Reserve spokesman said.

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"Congressman Collins and his campaign team are aware of the disclaimer requirements," the spokesman told Military.com. But several of the ads run by the campaign appear to lack a disclaimer, or have one that is difficult to read.

The Collins campaign did not immediately respond to a Military.com request for comment. But campaign spokesman Dan McLagan told Business Insider that Military Religious Freedom Foundation founder Mikey Weinstein, who instigated the public scrutiny of the ads, had a "long-standing grudge" against Collins.

Political disclaimers must be "prominent and clearly displayed," according to DoD directives.

Collins, who previously served in the Navy before joining the Air Force Reserve in 2002 as a chaplain, deployed to Iraq in 2008. His Senate campaign site touts that he has been "nationally recognized as one of President Trump's most steadfast defenders." He's currently the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee.

Collins is now running for the Senate in a special election against incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed to the seat when Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson retired, and Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat and the pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.

Weinstein, a lawyer and Air Force veteran, charged Thursday that Collins was still running the ads in "blatant violation" of DoD directives and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

"He has still not taken the ads down," Weinstein said, adding that he viewed the Air Force warning to Collins as inadequate.

In an Oct. 20 letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Weinstein said MRFF was demanding that "official, criminal UCMJ charges be aggressively brought against Collins so that he faces a formal trial by court-martial."

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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