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Ravnsborg Out of Ideas, Attacks Seiler, Breaks Military Rules on Use of Rank and Uniform for Political Gain

Inbreeding leads to genetic defects and decline. Forty years of political inbreeding and insularity have led Republicans to the weak, pale population of candidates now whimpering for your votes. The South Dakota Republican ticket is so weak that, unable to sell themselves as candidates with superior experiences and skills, political creatures like Kristi Noem and Jason Ravnsborg must resort to campaigning against national-level bogeymen and slogans with little if any connection to people and problems right here in South Dakota.

Simpering incompetent Jason Ravnsborg provides the latest example of gasping Republican desperation, as the extreme right-wing Trumpist who has spent over four years campaigning for Attorney General tries to paint Randy Seiler as an extreme career politician Obama-bot who wants to abolish the NRA (false, false, and false: it’s Trump who wants to take your guns!):

Funny: just Thursday, when asked about Seiler’s factual statement about Ravnsborg’s lack of experience prosecuting criminal cases in front of a jury, Ravnborg said, “When you don’t have any ideas you try and attack your opponent.” Then he released the above ad.

Ravnsborg does try to talk about himself, but he says far less about the actual experience necessary to be the state’s lead prosecutor and far more to portray himself as G.I. Joe:

Lieutenant Colonel Jason Ravnsborg 22 yeas of service a bronze star, leading our bravest in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now Jason Ravnsborg is ready to serve South Dakota…. proven in the courtroom and in combat… [Jason for South Dakota, campaign video, posted 2018.10.19].

22 years of service? Jason has spent the same amount of time part-time soldiering that Randy Seiler spent full-time prosecuting just in the U.S. Attorney’s office. Maybe Ravnsborg should stick to soldiering and let Seiler handle the prosecuting.

But in emphasizing his less relevant experience in uniform, Ravnsborg once again appears to be violating Defense Directive 1344.10, which prohibits certain partisan political activity by people serving in the military. Let’s turn again to the relevant military regulation:

4.3. Additional Limitations on Nomination or Candidacy and Campaigning

4.3.1. Members not on active duty who are nominees or candidates for the offices described in subparagraph 4.2.1. may, in their campaign literature (including Web sites, videos, television, and conventional print advertisements): Use or mention, or permit the use or mention of, their military rank or grade and military service affiliation; BUT they must clearly indicate their retired or reserve status. Include or permit the inclusion of their current or former specific military duty, title, or position, or photographs in military uniform, when displayed with other nonmilitary biographical details. Any such military information must be accompanied by a prominent and clearly displayed disclaimer that neither the military information nor photographs imply endorsement by the Department of Defense or their particular Military Department (or the Department of Homeland Security for members of the Coast Guard); e.g., “John Doe is a member of the Army National Guard. Use of his military rank, job titles, and photographs in uniform does not imply endorsement by the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.”

4.3.2. Members included in subparagraph 4.3.1. may NOT, in campaign literature (including Web sites, videos, television, and conventional print advertisements): Use or allow the use of photographs, drawings, and other similar media formats of themselves in uniform as the primary graphic representation in any campaign media, such as a billboard, brochure, flyer, Web site, or television commercial. For the purposes of this policy, “photographs” include video images, drawings, and all other similar formats of representational media. [Department of Defense, Directive 1344.10, 2008.02.19, p. 6]

Ravnsborg’s audio leads with his rank, with no indication of his reserve status. Let’s review those screen caps:

Jason Ravnsborg ad in uniform violates DOD 1344.10 Image 1
Jason Ravnsborg ad in uniform violates DOD 1344.10 Image 1
Jason Ravnsborg ad in uniform violates DOD 1344.10 Image 2
Jason Ravnsborg ad in uniform violates DOD 1344.10 Image 2
Jason Ravnsborg ad in uniform violates DOD 1344.10 Image 3
Jason Ravnsborg ad in uniform violates DOD 1344.10 Image 3
Jason Ravnsborg ad in uniform violates DOD 1344.10 Image 4
Jason Ravnsborg ad in uniform violates DOD 1344.10 Image 4
Jason Ravnsborg ad in uniform violates DOD 1344.10 Image 5
Jason Ravnsborg ad in uniform violates DOD 1344.10 Image 5
Jason Ravnsborg ad in uniform violates DOD 1344.10 Image 6
Jason Ravnsborg ad in uniform violates DOD 1344.10 Image 6
  1. Images 1, 2, and 3 show Jason in uniform, primary and only graphic representation, violating
  2. Image 4 shows Jason and other uniformed soldiers in at least four distinct photos and one of Jason in civilian clothes. The primary graphic representation, the only photo shown in focus, shows Jason in uniform, in violation of This image includes the disclaimer text required by; however, to say this narrow, all-caps text is “prominently and clearly displayed” is open for discussion.
  3. Image 5 shows Jason in uniform, primary and only graphic representation, which, even with the disclaimer, remains in violation of
  4. Image 6 shows two images, Jason in civilian suit, Jason in combat gear, and declares him “proven in combat,” thus making a claim about military information. The photo in uniform is not the primary graphic representation, thus avoiding violation of However, the disclaimer does not accompany this military information or photograph, violating

We’ve told Jason about Defense Directive 1344.10 before, but he keeps ignoring it, demonstrating the standard Republican contempt for rules that hinder their political machinations.

If after multiple warnings Jason Ravnsborg can’t make sense of military directives under which he has labored for 22 years, we can’t trust him to make sense of South Dakota law and prosecutorial procedure that he has practiced for far less time than that.

Thus, Jason must keep waving his uniform and scary images of Barack Obama to lure South Dakotans into voting on the basis of something other than real experience and skills.

Jason Ravnsborg lays bare the results of a political machine allowed to run for forty years without being held to account by the voters: meritless candidates contemptuous of fact and law.

Tangentially Related: When I play Ravnsborg’s video attack on Seiler on Dakota War College, the videos YouTube suggests I watch next show Nazis and bullets in front of skillets. I’d love to parse the algorithm draws lines between Ravnsborg, DWC, and those images.


  1. Rorschach 2018-10-27 11:40

    Jason Rvnsbrg: Ready to eat another donut.

    Randy Seiler: Ready to be Attorney General.

  2. Rorschach 2018-10-27 11:42

    You know what? Randy Seiler ought to challenge Rvnsbrg to a 5K run. Let’s see which soldier still has it in him.

  3. bearcreekbat 2018-10-27 12:00

    This thread raises a few pertinent questions:

    How are these provisions enforced? Is there any penalty for violating the rule?

    Who judges whether a retiree’s ad violates the rules and who imposes the penalties, if any, if violations are established?

    Who has standing to complain?

  4. mike from iowa 2018-10-27 12:45

    Didn’t Ravnsborg violate military protocol several years ago by standing beside jet with his uniform on for political purposes? Seems like Cory had a post about that on Madville Times.

  5. 96Tears 2018-10-27 13:36

    Jason Ravnsborg = Jason Gant x 5.

    With Lazy Dirtball Kristi Noem at the top and Jason (Gant) Ravnsborg running for A.G., the SDGOP has sent South Dakota voters the worst statehouse ticket since … well, that’s going to take some digging.

    If you liked the scandals involving the Republican EB-5 program and their mismanagement of Gear Up, both resulting in the bilking of millions, you’re going to love putting these two slackers in charge of your state government. Frankly, everything you need to know about Gant-Ravnsborg is summed up in that smug smile.

    If you think we can do better than Lazy Dirtball Noem and Gant-Ravnsborg, you really do have a more qualified, more earnest choice with Billie Sutton and Randy Seiler.

  6. Debbo 2018-10-27 15:24

    96 is right. Noem and Rvsbutt will totally trash SD. It will become 52nd in everything.

    Yep, I know there are 50 states + DC, but the SDGOP will create a new bottom.

  7. leslie 2018-10-27 17:29

    Why does SDGop put its faith in a swift boated inexperienced lawyer/GI Joe? 10th AMENDMENT. States rights. The AG is vital in blocking their Trumpian takeover of the 70% majority by the racist white minority Trump base-the 30% hate rallies. This is complicated so read this extensive article: “Rebirth of a Nation” J. Taplin, Harpers Oct 2018

    Oh, as my Cali kids say: GO DODGERS! And our thoughts and action go out to those gunned down in yet another hate crime using assault weapons in Pittsburg this morning.

  8. leslie 2018-10-27 17:35

    Sorry, NOVEMBER issue of Harpers. And i Meant SwiftboatING, not SwiftboatED.

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-10-27 23:04

    BCB, good legal questions. DOD 1344.10 4.6.4 says “Violations of paragraphs 4.1. through 4.5. of
    this Directive by persons subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice are punishable under
    Article 92, “Failure to Obey Order or Regulation,” Chapter 47 of Reference (b).” Article 92 says violators “shall be punished as a court martial may direct.”

    So can civilians contact the military and prompt a court martial?

  10. Debbo 2018-10-27 23:43

    Good questions about enforcement. I’d enjoy seeing Ransbutt court martialed. 😄

  11. bearcreekbat 2018-10-28 11:13

    Cory, your citation to the military code raises even more serious questions. According to an article online it appears that this alleged violation could be a very serious problem and can lead to incarceration.

    (1) Violation or failure to obey lawful general order or regulation. Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 2 years.

    While the article does not explicitly declare the violation to be a “crime,” the fact that incarceration could be part of the penalty appears to raise another question: Does violating this code constitute a violation of an attorney’s Code of Professional Responsibility. Rule 8.4 seems to capture the essence of any such violation with one of these provisions:

    Rule 8.4. Misconduct
    It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:
    (a) violate or attempt to violate the rules of professional conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another;
    (b) commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects;
    (c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;
    (d) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice;

    It makes one wonder who is advising the candidate on his advertisements and their possible dangers to his career and professional standing.

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