I will start this post out by saying, that as a veteran myself, I have the utmost respect for Charles Lollar and his military service (as I do for all veterans.) This post is not attacking Lollar for his military service, although I am sure some of his sycophants will claim otherwise.
To sum things up, I looked into a couple of questions about Lollar’s campaign and his military service that have been asked by others before:
- Did Charles Lollar violate regulations for active duty personnel that relate to partisan political activities?
- Has Charles Lollar exaggerated about his current military duties?
Charles Lollar is a Major in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. He was on active duty for a long period of time as a reservist. That was given as the reason he didn’t announce his campaign until late this past summer and that a “draft” campaign organization was set up, presumably without his involvement.
I had questions about exactly how that situation was being handled to stay in accordance with military regulations after a partisan political event that I attended that Lollar missed, because he was “at the Pentagon”, yet his campaign was one of the ones they recognized at the event.
As I looked into Department of Defense (DoD) regulations, I ended up digging deeply into DoD Directive 1344.10 (Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces.) I also ended up doing quite a bit of research into Charles Lollar’s activities before he was a candidate while his “draft” campaign was taking place. All of the information provided below is a result of that research.
Anyone subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) who violates DD 1344.10 can be punished under Article 92 (“Failure to Obey Order or Regulation”) of the UCMJ. Maximum penalties for violating Article 92 can range up to forfeiture of pay, confinement, or a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge from the military.
Lollar’s biography on his campaign website says:
Presently, Charles serves as a Major in the Marine Corps Reserves as an Intelligence Officer.
I looked into this claim and found some interesting information.
Lollar is holding an MOS (military occupational specialty) of 8006, which is Billet Designator—Unrestricted Officer (FMOS). His primary MOS (PMOS) isn’t listed – probably because his PMOS is not the MOS of the billet he is serving in. The billet description listed for which he is assigned to is Director Marine Corps Operations Center. His unit information has him as an Individual Mobilization Augmentee out of New Orleans but that is where Marine Corps Forces Reserve headquarters is located. His platoon and work section are listed at PPOO which is Plans, Policies & Operations. This is not an actual intelligence unit. PP&O is basically an overwatch group.
The Marine Corps Operations Center (MCOC) Mission Statement:
To provide Headquarters Marine Corps with the staff assistance necessary to monitor and report the status and current deployments of Marine Corps forces in support of the Global War on Terror, and to maintain a continuous point of contact and coordinate Marine Corps actions on operational matters pertaining to the deployment, employment, reconstitution of the operating forces.
A source familiar with Lollar’s unit and its operations (who explained the above details for me as well) tells me that a member of this unit would not be involved in producing intelligence reports on threats or enemy combatants in any way. I will give Lollar the benefit of the doubt on saying he’s an intelligence officer. The MOS for Ground Intelligence OIfficer is 0203. I suspect that was his primary MOS when he was on active duty and that he now serves in a job that is not intelligence-related. I will cross over to the branch of the military I am most familiar with and point out that an Army officer remains in the same branch (e.g. infantry, intelligence, etc.) even when assigned to a branch-immaterial job. I suspect that could be why Lollar still refers to himself as an intelligence officer while not actually serving in an intelligence unit or position currently. I will be sending a FOIA request in for Lollar’s active duty records in an attempt to confirm this. If Lollar wants to clear all of this up he can release permission to the media to view his full DD-214 (discharge paperwork) or he can request a redacted version of it himself and post it on his campaign website. David Vogt, a candidate for Congress in MD-06, is a Marine veteran also and he has posted his DD-214 on his campaign website.
There’s one more matter to mention from Lollar’s biography as relates to his military service. One of the things at the top of the bio page on a list of things Lollar “brings to his candidacy” is this line:
Patriotic service as a Marine officer with an ultra-clean personal history vetted for Top Secret clearance.
When I served as an intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard, I helped process soldiers’ applications for security clearances at one particular unit I was assigned to. There have been calls for reassessing how clearances are done after recent failures in who received clearances. Personal financial issues play a big part in getting and keeping a clearance. I’m not sure when Lollar’s last re-investigation was, but a lien was recently recorded against him (on 10/31/13) in Circuit Court following a judgement against him on 9/11/13. That will likely be something he needs to disclose when he fills out his paperwork if he seeks to have his clearance reviewed next time. (The judgement and lien relate to what Lollar told Red Maryland was a MVA matter earlier this year.)
All of the above information came out as I researched Lollar’s campaign activities while on active duty. Now, let’s move on to that information. I’ve added an embedded version of DD 1344.10 at the bottom of this post for reference.
It was reported by Len Lazarick on June 24, 2013 that Lollar had been on active duty for ” the past two and half years.”
Lollar supposedly stepped down as the head of the New Day Maryland PAC while on active duty. Yet, during the time he was on active duty, he made a post on the PAC’s website promoting the “draft” campaign for governor, which he was supposedly uninvolved with. This post made on November 21, 2012, included the following lines:
As some of you may know by I now I have been asked to consider a run for governor in 2014. In fact, there has been a “Draft” campaign started along with a FACEBOOK site advertising such. May I say that this has humbled me to say the least and I am honored to have such friends and patriots that think so highly of me and my family.
In the upcoming months, I will be spending a tremendous amount of time considering this endeavor as I want to ensure this the right direction for me and my family. Additionally, I am meeting with business leaders throughout the state of Maryland discussing my solutions for the economic struggles of our great state to include our rising unemployment as I outlined in the “RedPrint” for Maryland that can be found on my site www.newdaymd.com
I humbly ask each and every one of you to pray with me considering this all impressing matter. Whether you are within or without the borders of Maryland, I will need your support and prayers if in fact my family and I continue down this road. Please feel free to go on the “Draft Charles Lollar for Governor” Face Book and leave a message, I guarantee you it will encourage those who have authored this Draft as well as myself.
In case it disappears now from the New Day website, here’s a screen capture:
While on active duty, Charles Lollar (using the website of a PAC he supposedly was no longer head of) encouraged people to visit the Facebook page of a “draft” campaign he was supposedly uninvolved with on November 21, 2012. Draft campaigns have traditionally been from groups with no connection at all to a candidate. In fact, political drafts “are used to encourage or pressure a certain person to enter a political race, by demonstrating a significant groundswell of support for the candidate.”
In addition to Lollar’s post on the PAC website promoting his draft campaign on 11/21, on 11/27/12 a Statement of Organization for the Draft Charles Lollar for Governor campaign was filed. The information in the MDCRIS database indicates that Charles Lollar himself signed the “draft” campaign statement of organization.
Here’s what the online database showed for Lollar’s original statement:
This proves the “Draft” Lollar campaign was a draft in name only. This isn’t really a surprise to many cynical political observers, but there are people who have been shocked to learn of this news when told about it. There is also possibly an implication for Lollar under the Uniform Code of Military Justice related to this information.
Paragraph 4.2 of DD 1344.10 discusses “Nomination or Candidacy for Civil Office in the U.S. Government or State or Other Non-U.S. Government Offices.”
Sub-paragraph 4.3.3 applies to military personnel listed under 4.2. There are some real questions as to whether the above information means Lollar was technically a candidate at the time (under the “draft” campaign organization) and, if so, whether he was involved behind the scenes. Behind the scenes involvement would be against the regulations even if he had technically been allowed to be a candidate at the time.
Of course, all of the information put forth by Lollar himself and the people running the “draft” campaign indicated that at the very least they knew he couldn’t campaign and that he wasn’t becoming a candidate until after he was off active duty.
Lazarick discusses why Lollar was talking about his campaign in June at an event organized for bloggers at Maryland GOP headquarters:
Lollar expects his active duty tour to be over in about a month, at which time he’ll make an announcement about his plans.
Why not just wait till then to talk about a race he can’t yet mount? “I don’t want to wait till the last minute,” Lollar said, especially with other candidates actively campaigning.
Lazarick also reports that Lollar wasn’t “campaigning” because of the Pentagon rules and he would be announcing about a month from then.
Brian Griffiths live-tweeted the event and also recorded it. You can listen to the audio and hear him ask Lollar specifically about DD 1344.10. Griffiths’s tweets included Lollar saying that his military orders were why there was a draft campaign, that Karen Winterling was the campaign manager of that draft campaign, and that Lollar intended to run for Governor when he came off orders on July 26.
Greg Kline also discussed the event:
Mr. Lollar stated that he wanted to have this availability because he wanted to explain some things. I have some difficulty describing what the event was because, as with most things involving Mr. Lollar, there is an insistence that it wasn’t what it seemed to be. Mr. Lollar insists that he is not an active candidate for Governor but is the target of a “Draft Campaign” over which he strenuously maintains he has no control. See Mr. Lollar is active duty military for another month or so and is limited, both by federal law and military regulations, from being involved in certain activities associated with someone running for office. When asked why he simply doesn’t wait until after the restrictions upon him are lifted, there was no clear answer other than a sense that waiting may be detrimental to his ultimate campaign, should he decide to run.Needless to say, this odd “non-campaign” campaign is confusing to most folks and was the first topic of discussion at our meeting, for lack of a better word. I encourage you to listen to Mr. Lollar’s answers. My impression is that you have a person who desperately wants to run for Governor, although he coyly suggests the decision is not entirely made, who is pushing the envelope legally to do everything he can to run without running. When asked if the campaign had some legal review of its actions, the answer appeared to be no. While I certainly make no conclusion, I really have concerns that what Mr. Lollar and the “draft campaign” are doing (he refers to them as “We”) would really bear a great deal of scrutiny.
The most interesting fact in what Kline wrote to me is that there apparently was no legal review of what was being done. Additionally, Lollar referring to the draft campaign as “we” would seem to indicate that there was coordination there, which goes against the impression that was given by the “draft” effort as well as possibly running afoul of the military regulations.
DD 1344.10 is very specific about what is allowed and not allowed as far as political activities go and these apply whether the service member is a candidate or not.
Let’s look at some specific proscribed activities from the regulations.
4.1.2. A member of the Armed Forces on active duty shall not:
18.104.22.168. Participate in partisan political fundraising activities (except as permitted in subparagraph 22.214.171.124.), rallies, conventions (including making speeches in the course thereof), management of campaigns, or debates, either on one’s own behalf or on that of another, without respect to uniform or inference or appearance of official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement. Participation includes more than mere attendance as a spectator.
126.96.36.199. Speak before a partisan political gathering, including any gathering that promotes a partisan political party, candidate, or cause.
188.8.131.52. Participate in any radio, television, or other program or group discussion as an advocate for or against a partisan political party, candidate, or cause.
The below screen capture from the Facebook page of the Dorchester County Republican Central Committee shows that Charles Lollar was scheduled to be a speaker at their Lincoln Day Dinner on March 2. Please note that Charles Lollar is speaking at a “partisan political” gathering that “promotes a partisan political party.”
For confirmation that Lollar was indeed there speaking, here’s a video of his remarks:
The below flyer was used to promote the Wicomico County Central Committee’s 2013 Lincoln Day Dinner at Salisbury University on March 23. This is yet another “partisan political” gathering that “promotes a partisan political party” that features Charles Lollar as a speaker.
Michael Swartz blogged about the event in-depth and included a very detailed report on Lollar’s speech.
Here’s an excerpt:
Because Charles Lollar needed to return to the Washington area to do his job, we allowed him to speak first.
It was a long day for Lollar, who had spoken to a men’s conference early in the morning in Baltimore, at the New Antioch Baptist Church; an event at which he was “well received.” They “embraced” his strong Second Amendment stand, Charles added.
Swartz also noted the following:
I also spoke with Karen Winterling, who’s been pushing the “Draft Lollar” movement. I learned that, due to the Hatch Act, Charles couldn’t make an official announcement on the 2014 governor’s race until June. But Winterling already had an army of 250 volunteers around the state and was hoping for “another 30 tonight.”
This is not the first reference I’ve seen to the Draft Lollar campaign referring to the Hatch Act as a reason for Lollar not officially being a candidate yet. That was incorrect. The Hatch Act applies only to civilian federal employees and all of the media reports and all other indications have been that Lollar was on active duty orders, which is why DD 1344.10 applies.
Six days later, on March 29, Lollar was introductory speaker at the Charles County Republican Central Committee’s Lincoln Day Dinner. Lollar was listed on the event’s Facebook page as one of the speakers.
Here’s how he was billed on the event’s web page:
Introductory Remarks: Charles Lollar
Past Maryland State Director, Americans for Prosperity,
Marine Corps Intelligence Officer at the Pentagon
2010 candidate for 5th Congressional District
A newspaper report confirms that Lollar did indeed speak at another “partisan gathering” despite being on active duty:
The audience gave Newburg resident Charles Lollar, who is considering a gubernatorial run in 2014 and ran against U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md., 5th) in 2010, resounding of applause as he took the to introduce Pratt. He first offered his own take on the gun control debate.
“With all this rubbish about taking away Second Amendment rights, I’ve been training my children how to handle the Glock that I have at home and how to shoot it, and they’re getting excited about it,” Lollar said. “… We’re at the point in our house, we get excited about the opportunity of somebody breaking in.”
Jokes aside, Lollar said, “it’s time to stop playing politics” with the issue and protect gun rights. When he lived in Georgia, Lollar said, he learned about the city of Kennesaw, which in 1982 mandated that all homeowners own a gun.
“Can you imagine what happened to the crime rates within a year?” Lollar asked rhetorically. “The surrounding counties, their crimes rates remained the same or went up. In Kennesaw, it dropped by almost seven points. People [say], ‘I wonder why.’ Well, because criminals are smart, too.”
According to the May newsletter of the Calvert County Republican Central Committee, Lollar was scheduled to be the special guest speaker at a luncheon for the Republican Women of Calvert County:
The RWCC celebrates their 55th Birthday on May 8, at Mamma Lucia’s Restaurant, Prince Frederick, with a special luncheon at noon. Special guest speaker is Charles Lollar. All are invited to join the celebration. Reservations are required; $25 per person.
All of the events detailed above were events with paid admission, i.e. fundraisers. The remaining events detailed below are partisan ones that aren’t fundraisers.
In April, Lollar was a guest speaker at the Spring Board of Directors meeting of the Maryland Federation of Republican Women in Easton.
On June 8, Lollar spoke at a 10 a.m. breakfast for the Dorchester County Republican Central Committee that was a part of their People’s Voice series. The event took place at Highspot Gastropub in Cambridge. The event web page (scroll down) had the draft campaign’s web address and information on where to send a donation.
Lollar also spoke to the District 32 Republican Club on August 8, 2013. That event page billed him as still being with New Day MD. While the initial reports said he would be off active duty after July 26, I am not sure if that was still the case by then since he didn’t actually announce his candidacy until September.
In May, Lollar appeared on TV One’s Washington Watch with Roland Martin, as noted in Politico Playbook. Lollar was billed as being state director for Americans for Prosperity in May of this year (followup on that will be needed later.) Additionally, the transcript shows Lollar was in a “group discussion” clearly talking about partisan politics on behalf of a cause or party. That is one of the things forbidden by DD 1344.10 for active duty personnel.
Here’s the video of the appearance:
Lollar also spoke in January at a Guns Across Maryland Rally in Annapolis. The purpose of this rally was to oppose gun control legislation that was then being considered by the legislature. Lollar was introduced by Ginny Meerman, who is now on his campaign staff, and she mentioned his draft campaign.
Here’s the video:
To sum things up, Charles Lollar has apparently violated DD 1344.10’s regulations regarding political activity while on active duty in multiple ways:
- He was the featured speaker at partisan political events, including multiple fundraisers.
- He appeared on television speaking on behalf of a cause or party
It’s not entirely clear whether Lollar violated regulations regarding his apparent coordination with his “draft” campaign, including the fact that he signed the statement of organization of that campaign in 2012 while on active duty. There is definitely a strong indication that he was involved behind the scenes with the draft campaign while he was also making these partisan appearances while on active duty.
I am following up with the public affairs offices at Headquarters, Marine Corps and at USMC Forces Reserve to get a comment on the facts detailed in this piece. I will be asking them for clarification on the apparent violations as well as questions about other events while Lollar was on active duty. You can read the regulations for yourself below. I don’t doubt there might be more violations if more research is done.
Quinton is a native South Carolinian who has lived in Baltimore since 2006. He is a recent convert to the Catholic Church and is active in the Knights of Columbus. He has been involved in the pro-life movement nationally and locally since 2010.
Quinton is a veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard. He is also an Eagle Scout.