U.S. Marine detained at Obama fundraiser in San Antonio
At President Obama's fundraiser at the Convention Center in San Antonio, a U.S. Marine that had been standing with protesters was detained by San Antonio Police. The Marine had not been causing any problems, and he cooperated with police.
In some circumstances, it is illegal for active duty military personnel to participate in public political events.
Federal Law (Titles 10, 2, and 18, United States Code), Department of Defense (DOD) Directives, and specific military regulations strictly specify a military active duty person's participation in partisan political activities.
DOD defines "partisan political activity" as "activity supporting or relating to candidates representing, or issues specifically identified with, national or State political parties and associated or ancillary organizations."
A "Nonpartisan political activity is defined as "activity supporting or relating to candidates not representing, or issues not specifically identified with, national or State political parties and associated or ancillary organizations. Issues relating to constitutional amendments, referendums, approval of municipal ordinances, and others of similar character are not considered as specifically being identified with national or State political parties."
The military wants its personnel to participate in our democratic process -- within limits. DOD encourages active duty military members to vote, and has established several programs to help active duty personnel to register and cast absentee ballots. What career military officer or senior NCO has never had to pull a stint as unit "voting officer," or "voting NCO?" But, when it comes to actively campaigning for a specific political candidate or partisan objective, the military draws the line.