Is Sarah Palin's bus tour really illegal?

MSNBC's Martin Bashir claims the former Alaska governor is violating federal law by waving the flag while raising money

Sarah Palin boards her "One Nation" bus
(Image credit: REUTERS/Gary Hershorn )

Rumored presidential candidate Sarah Palin has taken plenty of heat for her ambiguous, unorthodox, and press-unfriendly "One Nation" bus tour. But MSNBC's Martin Bashir has gone beyond routine criticism, suggesting that Palin's east-coast jaunt might be "in breach of federal law." Citing the United States Flag Code, Bashir says you can't use the nation's flag in any form of advertising and Palin, he argues, is using her bus, which is plastered with giant images of the flag, not for campaigning, but for "filling her pockets." Does he have a point, or is this just an anti-Palin cheap shot?

This guy does not know what he is talking about: Martin Bashir is an ignorant political hack, says Alex Fitzsimmons at NewsBusters. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, which provides legal advice to Congress, says observance of the Flag Code is strictly voluntary. And if the Supreme Court says you can burn the flag, surely you can decorate a bus with it.

"Martin Bashir: Sarah Palin's bus tour a 'breach of federal law'"

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This is hypocritical and blatant Palin-bashing: Bashir is just singling out Palin because she's conservative, says Patterico's Pontifications. Why didn't he complain when Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry — Democrats all — used the flag in their political ads? The fact is that "politicians wrap themselves in the flag all the time." And Bashir's own network has liberally, and inappropriately, splashed the flag on the screen, too.

"Martin Bashir is shocked and angry that ... a politician is using a flag in an ad"

It may be legal, but Palin is exploiting the flag: "Palin is not promoting a book, a candidacy, or anything but herself," says Alex Moore at Death + Taxes. There are indeed no legal penalties for violating the Flag Code, as "it's more just a base line code for decency and respect." But this blatant exploitation of the stars and stripes proves that Palin is a charlatan who sells herself as the pinnacle of patriotism, but "can't even rise to meet this basic benchmark" of decency.

"Sarah Palin's bus tour breaking federal law for desecrating U.S. flag?"

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