Marine Corps emblem is seen at upper right of recent campaign mailer from Rep. Duncan Hunter.
Marine Corps emblem is seen at upper left of recent campaign mailer from Rep. Duncan Hunter. Image via Huffpost

The Alpine Republican and Marine combat veteran apparently missed or disregarded the memo, especially the FAQ:

I’m running for a political office and am a former Marine. Can I use Marine Corps trademarks on my campaign materials?

No, you may not use the official Marine Corps Seal, Eagle, Globe and Anchor (EGA), or any other USMC insignia or trademark in this manner, because it might create the impression your candidacy is endorsed by or affiliated with the USMC in some way, or that the USMC has chosen your candidacy over other candidates.

Marine Corps Trademark Licensing Office letter to Rep. Duncan Hunter. (PDF)

On Tuesday, the Marine Corps Trademark Licensing Office sent Hunter a letter saying: “It has come to our attention that your campaign is using the official USMC Eagle, Globe and Anchor (Emblem) and the phrase ‘No Better Friend, NO Worse Enemy’ (Phrase) as an integral part of your political campaign, namely, on at least one fundraising mailer to your constituents.”

Hunter was ordered to immediately remove the emblem and phrase from his mailers “and, without limitation, from all other campaign materials including websites and other instances where the Emblem or the Phrase are being used.”

According to NBC News, which first reported the cease-and-desist letter, a Hunter spokesperson said the campaign “immediately complied and is taking all appropriate measures to ensure this matter is addressed appropriately and thoroughly.”

The emblem and phrase appeared on a mailer attacking Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, his defeated rival of 2018 and 2020 opponent.

The mailer pictures Campa-Najjar as well as Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — labeled “radical democrats” who “want you to forget their anti-Semitism or Family-Terrorist Ties!”

The envelope was mocked for a misspelling of Israel as Isreal.

Hunter spokesman Michael Harrison was quoted by Task and Purpose that Hunter is disappointed that he can’t use the motto or image that “thousands of Marines like Congressman Hunter, who went to war under this banner, have used for tattoos, coins, and multiple other items of personal sentiment.”

“It is as much a part of them as it is the Marine Corps,” said Harrison, who added that Hunter, a former Marine major, has always included a disclaimer in his campaign materials explaining that any use of his rank, job, and pictures of him in uniform are not official endorsements by the Defense Department or Marine Corps.

Late Wednesday, Campa-Najjar issued a statement:

“I advise Congressman Hunter to cease-and-desist from attacking his fellow Americans — because every time he tries, he lies. Hunter’s campaign has illegally used the official Marine Corps emblem and phrase for years, but these hateful mailers were so dishonorable and discrediting that they drew the attention of the United States Marine Corps, prompting the branch to issue a cease-and-desist order.

“The congressman’s lies don’t reflect the position of the United States Marine Corps anymore than his conduct reflects the character of our district. We deserve better.”

Meanwhile, Navy SEAL veteran Larry Wilske — one of several Republicans challenging Hunter in the 50th Congressional District — told San Diego-based One America News in an interview airing Wednesday that he’s “in this race not running against Duncan Hunter.”

“Of course, his legal situation is troubling, but he’s a combat veteran,” Wilske said. “And as such … he as much as any other American deserves due process and the presumption of innocence. … In fact, if he’s found innocent of all 60 charges, I’ll drop out of the race that day.”

However, the Marines have no problem with Hunter running for re-election (albeit under indictment) as noted in the FAQ:

You are more than welcome to simply and accurately state you are a Marine Corps veteran. You may not use the EGA, which is a trademark of the USMC and protected by Federal law (please see 10 USC 7881). This is consistent with the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations which clearly states the wearing of the uniform in a political context is strictly prohibited. Please see Section 11002(1)(a)(2) and (3) of the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations.

Updated at 10:20 p.m. July 17, 2019