Congressman Alan West (R-Fla.) thought he was honoring war vets when he went scuba diving with an American flag earlier this week. But some believe that act indirectly violated federal law.
“There’s nothing really bad to say about Rep. Allen West going diving off the coast of Deerfield Beach with a bunch of military veterans—except for the fact that he violated U.S. federal law in the process and provided a pictorial of himself doing so,” Matthew Hendley, a blogger for Broward-Palm Beach New Times, wrote June 14.
Specifically, Hendley claimed that West violated the U.S. Flag code, which states that the “flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.”
West’s office has contested Hendley’s claim. Angela Sachitano, his communication’s director, told Politico that the purpose of the dive was to bring awareness to veterans who are struggling to overcome disabilities suffered while serving the country.
“He went diving with several disabled veterans who fought to defend the American Flag and this nation,” Sachitano said. “Congressman West displayed the American Flag on an underwater wreck as a sign of respect for the flag and the accomplishment for these veterans who each and every day work to overcome their disability.”
West, a 22-year Army veteran, had no qualms about his act when he told The Miami Herald that “it’s important wherever we are, that the flag flies.”
Hendley said West should be let off with a warning, as there is no punitive penalty for violating the law.