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Rep. Barbara Comstock has apparently violated federal law governing use of the American flag. She is attaching her political advertising to cheap plastic flags and leaving them curbside across Northern Virginia neighborhoods.
Respect for the flag runs deep in Virginia, so complaints surfaced quickly on social media as residents traded photos and angry comments.
Federal law governs display and care of the American flag. Comstock’s misuse runs afoul of two different federal rules: one rule against any advertising on the flag or its staff, and another governing proper display. See below for details.
In addition to concerns about Comstock’s disrespect for the flag, residents expressed unhappiness that Comstock displayed her campaign signs on their property without permission.
Comstock’s breach of common courtesy clearly touched a nerve.
If someone plants a #TrumpRussia yard sign in Barbara Comstock’s lawn without permission, she’ll be angry.
So why must we let Comstock plant her political signs on OUR property?
Barbara Comstock is not relieved of her responsibility to comply with federal law and the rules of common courtesy simply because she is a member of Congress. Rep. Comstock should be held to the highest standard.
Respect for the flag is a key American tradition. So is common courtesy.
Unless you are Barbara Comstock, perhaps.
Make a mental note.
**The United States Flag Code establishes advisory rules for display and care of the national flag of the United States of America.
- *Federal law prohibits attaching “any advertisement of any nature” to the flag of the United States. (4 U.S.C. Sections 3 and 8i )
- Residents noted that Comstock’s cheap flags fade quickly and end up littering the neighborhood, which is also a violation: “The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.” (4 U.S.C. Section 8e)
Barbara Comstock’s silence signals her support for President Trump’s attacks on press freedom. Whether she agrees or not, that is the message in her silence.
The facts are not in dispute. The GOP’s Greg Gianforte attacked a journalist because he asked a question. A Fox News team was in the room and reported the assault. They added:
“To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte.” –Fox News
Comstock has said nothing about this to her 10th District constituents. In stark contrast, Rep. Gerry Connolly in Virginia’s neighboring 11th District quickly issued a statement condemning the assault:
“Physical violence and abuse of media are hallmarks in Trump era. Disgusting. We need to call it out.” –Rep. Gerry Connolly
Just like her old friend White House aide KellyAnne Conway, Rep. Comstock has long shown disrespect for an independent press. She avoids reporters, issues disingenuous public statements, and never holds unscripted public meetings.
Comstock’s silence in face of this violent assault on the First Amendment is yet more evidence that she will always puts her party first, and her country second.
Make a metal note.
Rep. Barbara Comstock (VA10) was “the most prominent” of GOP zealots during the Clinton Administration, driving relentless investigations and helping tear the country apart.
The GOP rewarded her with a safe, gerrymandered congressional seat in the Virginia suburbs of Washington DC.
Yet now, when her constituents are clamoring for leadership to investigate Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, Barbara Comstock has disappeared. Instead of offering her well-honed investigative skills on behalf of the nation, she issued a short press release, linked it to her social media accounts, and disappeared.
Courageous politicians are easy to find. They stand up in public and do what’s right.
Barbara Comstock has disappeared.
Make a mental note.
The May 14 alt-right demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia — a short drive from Comstock’s home in the Washington suburbs — presents a teachable moment about Comstock’s relationship with the alt-right faction of the Republican Party. The torchlight hate-fest drew a crowd of supporters chanting Nazi slogans and calling Russia “our friend.”
Barbara Comstock’s reaction? She tapped out a tepid tweet. A similar message was posted on her Facebook page. She issued no press release nor did she appear on camera to denounce the event, its organizers, and the Republican Party elements that condone them.
Her messages have no impact and will disappear in the social media feed after a few days, but in 2018 she will use them as evidence that she has distanced herself from the alt-right and its Republican enablers. Comstock watchers will know better.
Make a mental note.
Rep. Comstock has almost no unscripted contact with constituents. She has never held a town hall meeting, rarely talks to the press, and her website* is studiously devoid of significant policy content.
Instead, Barbara Comstock stages hundreds of smiling photo-ops with carefully selected individuals or small groups. Nothing spontaneous, nothing credible, nothing useful for constituents anxious about the future and how their representative in Congress is going to vote during these turbulent times.
Her representative claims she has talked to hundreds of people. Since there is no other record of this, and since her representative is a former communications officer for Steve Bannon’s Citizens United Productions, we can safely assume he is actually referring to those hundreds of staged photo-ops.
We counted them on Comstock’s Twitter feed. In addition to hospital administrators, lots of student groups, and the occasional baby kissing, Rep. Comstock likes to meet with wineries and restaurants, including:
- Boxwood Winery (owned by Jack Kent Cook)
- Vanish Beer
- Blackfinn Ameripub Ashburn
- Main Street Pub Clifton
- Hail and Hog Loudoun
Comstock’s 5/19/2016 constituent meeting at the Hail and Hog was a real policy wonk work-fest. In the photo above, you can see clearly that Redskins coach Jay Gruden is raising a key issue with Rep. Comstock.
Many of her 302 constituent meetings look just as useful.
Make a mental note.
(*For a real policy romp, visit Rep. Gerald Connolly site in VA11 and click on the Issues link – his website overflows with information.)