Rules may prohibit free meals for Coast Guard

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The American Legion post in Grand Haven is looking to help U.S. Coast Guard members by offering free meals amid the partial government shutdown, but a determination must first be made as to whether ethics regulations allow them to accept.

Friday night was build-your-own-burger night at the America Legion Charles A. Conklin Post 28, where for $5 you got a double cheeseburger with all the fixings. Starting Wednesday, spaghetti night, Coast Guard members can get a meal for free if there is still no resolution to the shutdown.

Unlike the other branches of the armed forces, which are part of the Department of Defense, the Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security. The DoD has been funded through the year, but Homeland Security is one of the agencies affected by the partial federal government shutdown. About 42,000 of the Coast Guard’s 51,000 service members and civilian staff are now facing the prospect of missing a paycheck.

There is a possibility that the Code of Federal Regulations may prohibit Coast Guard members from taking the free meals. A spokesperson for the Coast Guard’s 9th District, which covers the Great Lakes, said those rules can apply to the Coast Guard, but there is no open investigation of Grand Haven.

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