Cramer Used Footage of North Dakota Veterans Cemetery for Campaign Purposes, Ignored Concerns of Veterans to Take It Down
(BISMARCK, ND) – In 2014, Congressman Cramer used footage of the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery in a campaign ad, even though the Department of Veterans Affairs expressly prohibits the filming of political ads. Despite explicit calls from local veterans and service members to stop airing the ad, Cramer dragged his feet – and even after he said he’d pull the ad from TV, he continued to “encourage people to view the ad online.”
There’s more: when confronted with why Cramer was so disrespectful to use this footage without permission, he didn’t apologize – in fact, he doubled down, saying “there’s nothing illegal” about it.
Here’s what North Dakota veterans had to say:
Vietnam veteran Neil Prochnow: “I would say it’s inappropriate…He should’ve used better judgment.”
Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan veteran Bryan Watters: “I don’t think any political candidate should be cashing in on the sacrifices made by veterans in their final resting place. Let them rest in peace.”
Iraq veteran Christopher Deery: “Instead of showing us and the service members laid to rest in that cemetery the respect we deserved, he kept his ad online for the course of the campaign… Cramer didn’t care then whose rules he was breaking that he had disrespected veterans, and doesn’t care now.”
“Congressman Cramer campaigned on fallen soldiers’ graves, deciding that it was more important to exploit veterans for political purposes than to respect their final resting place and follow the rules,” said Scott McNeil, Executive Director of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL. “He even ignored calls from North Dakota vets and service members and kept directing folks to watch his ad online. It’s sad that North Dakotans have come to expect nothing less from Cramer: his refusal to admit wrongdoing is just another example of him putting his own interests above North Dakotans.”
MSNBC: Tasteless GOP political ad still online, despite rebuke.
Bismarck Tribune, LTE: Cramer continues to ignore rules.
Inforum: Cramer criticized for using vets cemetery as backdrop for ad.
MSNBC: Veterans’ cemeteries are not campaign props.