Several “concerned local veterans” have reportedly pointed out that Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA) of the 26th congressional district sent a political mailer to her constituents in July that featured a stock photo of a “veteran” wearing a hat bearing a German Lutwaffe insignia, according to the Daily Caller.
“The photograph is likely a purchased stock photo of a model in a costume contrived from various emblems to look like an official naval uniform. However it is clearly not an American Navy uniform, or that of any U.S. military branch,” said Brownley’s opponent, Republican Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo) in a press release on Monday.
The “faux pas” mailer Brownley had sent out, allegedly “using taxpayer funds,” features her face, beneath which is written “reaching across the aisle.” Above and below her image are several pictures, including a young family, a little girl on her way to school, a mature couple, and a woman wearing what appears to be a white naval uniform.
Brownley reportedly sent the mailer out under congressional “franking” privileges, which “allow sitting lawmakers to mass mail certain types of flyers and other information to their constituents without paying postage,” the Caller notes.
In his press release, Gorell, who is a veteran of the Afghanistan war, says: “This gaffe is disrespectful to those who have worn the uniform of the United States.” He continues that “the misrepresentation and use of an image depicting a foreign or fake military service member is indicative of a fundamental lack of understanding of veterans and the military by Brownley, her staff, and her political advisors.”
The Daily Caller points out that Brownley serves on the House Committee for Veteran Affairs and is a ranking member on the House’s Subcommittee on Health, which oversees the VA. Brownley’s district (the 26th congressional district) includes Naval Base Ventura County, which supports 19,000 naval personnel.
California’s 26th congressional district has been cited as “leaning Democrat,” according to Real Clear Politics, but is considered one of the GOP’s top pickup prospects. It includes Camarillo, Oxnard, Ventura, Santa Paula, Thousand Oaks, and Westlake Village.