GOP Rep. Hunter wants Marine Corps to drop dismissal of anti-Obama sergeant

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) is urging the Marine Corps to drop discharge proceedings against a Marine who faces dismissal for writing on Facebook that he would not follow unlawful orders from President Obama.

Hunter, who is a Marine reservist, wrote a letter Tuesday to Marine Col. C.S. Dowling, a commanding officer at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, where Sgt. Gary Stein has an administrative separation hearing scheduled on Thursday.

Hunter says that a Defense Department directive on political activity — which says that servicemembers cannot actively participate in political events while in uniform — does not mention social media activities like Facebook.

Hunter said the Pentagon’s policy is “both vague and contradictory in the context of new ‘social media.’”

“In fact, nothing in the directive actually mentions social media and what activity is or is not approved for active duty servicemembers,” Hunter wrote. “Because of the ambiguity regarding this issue, I urge the Marine Corps to withdraw the discharge proceedings and allow Sgt. Stein to complete his enlistment over the coming months.”

Stein faces dismissal from the Marines for his “Armed Forces Tea Party” Facebook page, where Stein posted that he would not follow unlawful orders from the president and called Obama a “domestic enemy.”

The Marines said in a statement last month that Stein was investigated after he “posted political statements about the President of the United States on his Facebook Web page.”

Stein posted on his Facebook page the notification he received from the Marines about his discharge proceedings, which said he “allegedly made statements regarding the President of the United States that are prejudicial to good order and discipline.”

Hunter said in a March interview with The Hill that the military's actions against Stein were upsetting. 

“This sergeant is getting punished for basically using modern technology, which allows us to talk to way more friends way easier,” Hunter said. “He was not acting while in uniform.”

Hunter also said that the issue was “being politicized.”

In his letter sent Tuesday to Dowling, Hunter called on the Pentagon to map out a better social media policy.

“In the meantime, Sgt. Stein should not face separation for expressing an opinion shared by a majority of Marines,” Hunter wrote,” in a forum that encourages civil interaction between family, friends and acquaintances.”