NRA ad supporting Donald Trump appears to be filmed inside a national cemetery despite restrictions
(ABC) -- The National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund is behind a new anti-Hillary Clinton ad released today that appears to have been filmed in a U.S. national cemetery, which would be a violation of government policy.
The "Stop Clinton, Vote Trump" advertisement, which the NRA says was filmed outside an unidentified national cemetery, criticizes Clinton for the fatal Benghazi, Libya, attacks and urges voters to support Donald Trump in the general election.
It features Mark "Oz" Geist, one of six former elite military operatives who fought back in the 2012 Libya terror attacks that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
Portions of the ad appear to show Geist overlooking the cemetery while others show him walking the grounds.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has seen the advertisement, issuing a statement to ABC News that reflects the agency’s strict prohibition of filming campaign ads on national cemetery property that contains the graves of military personnel, veterans and their spouses.
"To date, the National Cemetery Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs has not received or approved any filming requests of this nature," VA spokesman James Hutton told ABC News. “NCA did not receive a request from the NRA to film the subject advertisement. If we had received such a request, we would have denied it based on the partisan content.
"As always, our veterans, their families and survivors are our top priority. To maintain the sanctity and decorum of VA National Cemeteries as national shrines, our filming policy states that filming may not be used for the expression of partisan or political viewpoints, or for uses that are (or may be interpreted as) an endorsement of a commercial entity," Hutton said.
In the ad, Geist says, "Hillary as president - no thanks. I served in Benghazi. My friends didn't make it. They did their part. Do yours."
Despite the ad’s showing Geist walking among tombstones on the cemetery grounds, the NRA told ABC News it was filmed outside of a national cemetery. The NRA would not say which national cemetery it used to produce the ad, but denied it was Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
The restrictions apply to all the 134 national cemeteries maintained by the V.A. in 40 states and Puerto Rico.
The NRA endorsed Trump in May. The ad is one of the few coming from a third-party group that backs Trump. The NRA spent $2 million on this ad and plans to air it in Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
The Clinton camp slammed the ad.
"It's outrageous that the gun lobby is standing in the way of keeping dangerous assault weapons out of the hands of terrorists while also politicizing a terrorist attack in an effort to hurt Hillary Clinton and aid Donald Trump," Clinton campaign spokesman Glen Caplin today said in a statement provided to ABC News. "The country would be a better and safer place if the gun lobby invested their resources in common sense measures to save lives instead of trying to save Donald Trump's candidacy."
The ad comes on the heels of an 800-page report published by House Republicans on the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack that is strongly critical of the Obama administration and Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time.
ABC News' Martha Raddatz, Shushannah Walshe and Liz Kreutz contributed to this report.
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