- Associated Press - Sunday, February 7, 2016

LEBANON, N.H. (AP) - An American Legion official and a pastor are among several New Hampshire residents who say they were upset when they saw their faces featured on presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ mailers without their permission.

Tom Wiley found out from his commanding officer that his photograph was featured on one of the Vermont senator’s mailers for his Democratic presidential bid, the Lebanon Valley News reported (bit.ly/1QP6Q5f) Sunday. He said the photo was taken during a Veterans Day event hosted by the American Legion in Lebanon’s Colburn Park and attended by Sanders.

Wiley, a Canaan resident who hopes to become New Hampshire’s next department commander, said he was not amused. The legion touts itself as a nonpartisan organization.

Wiley’s image was prominently included on the front page of a glossy campaign mailer next to the words “Veterans fought for us. Bernie fought for them.”

The Rev. Stephen R. Silver, pastor of the First Congregational Church of Lebanon of Lebanon, said he and his 9-year-old son had their picture taken with Sanders at the same Veterans Day event and were stunned to see it on a recent mailer. He said he explained to his congregation that he was not taking a public stance on any candidate.

“I know in our church, we have Democrats; we have Republicans; we have independent voters. They’re all there,” he said. “I want them to know that they can all feel comfortable coming to me.”

Both Wiley and Silver said they were not asked to sign a photo release.

A spokesman from the Sanders campaign said he was looking into the issue.

Experienced campaigners from both parties said using people’s images in a campaign advertisement without their permission is unethical.

Scott Tranchemontagne, who heads a public relations firm and was a political consultant for a variety of Republican candidates until 2010, said whoever produced the mailers disregarded the basic rules of campaigning.

“The first rule that any campaign staffer in charge of producing these types of materials (should know) is you shouldn’t use an image without clearing the permissions,” Tranchemontagne said.

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Information from: Lebanon Valley News, https://www.vnews.com

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