Convicted leaker Chelsea Manning has declared her intent to run for Senate in Maryland, challenging Democrat Ben Cardin from the Left.
According to The Washington Post, Manning submitted her initial paperwork on Friday, January 11. The conservative, local Maryland blog, "Red Maryland," found Mannings filings on the Federal Election Committee website, where Manning's name is listed as "Chelsea Elizabeth Manning."
Manning filed similar paperwork with the Maryland Secretary of State later on Friday. She has neither an official campaign operation nor any cash on hand, which will make a full-fledged challenge of a sitting Democratic senator — the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, no less — with more than a million dollars in the bank somewhat difficult.
But she's got lots of emojis and a very active Twitter, so that should solve everything.
Manning, was, at one time, Bradley Manning, a U.S. Army private convicted in 2013 of one of the single largest leaks of classified intelligence in United States history. Manning submitted 750,000 documents, including video, State Department cables, and information on suspected terrorists, to Wikileaks out of a desire, she said at the time, to see an end to the Iraq War. Later, Manning claimed she also wanted to punish the Army for its then-ban on allowing LGBT men and women to serve openly in the military.
She was convicted on a number of counts, but not on the count of treason, and given a 35 year prison sentence. Before leaving office, former President Barack Obama commuted Manning's sentence, but did not pardon her. After leaving prison, she's become an outspoken advocate for a variety of progressive causes, despite having committed several egregious violations of military law (something she routinely refuses to talk about).
Fortunately for Manning, a felony conviction — or several felony convictions — aren't a bar to running for Senate, though they aren't generally considered resume builders.