Military service records of several prominent Republicans were improperly released by the U.S. Air Force to a Democrat-linked research firm, as the Daily Caller reports.
According to the outlet, records pertaining to GOP Reps. Don Bacon (NE) and Zach Nunn (IA) were turned over to a requester from a consulting firm known as Due Diligence Group who claimed they were needed for “employment and benefits,” and Fox News later noted that former House candidates Kevin Dellicker of Pennsylvania and Sam Peters of Nevada are also among those whose records were released.
These discoveries were made after it was learned that the Air Force had also wrongly released service records for Republican House candidate Jennifer-Ruth Green of Indiana to the same Democrat-affiliated research firm.
In a letter sent to Bacon earlier this month, Air Force Major General Troy Dunn declared that he considers the breach to be a very serious matter but that an internal probe revealed “no criminal action or malicious intent” by the government employee who released the records.
Dunn further noted that the Air Force “held our employee accountable for failing to follow proper administrative procedures” and “reviewed our policies and practices and made immediate procedural changes with higher level review, additional security checks, and tighter process controls to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.”
Bacon, for his part, noted that Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall informed him that the records of 11 individuals were in fact released to the research group's staffer, who, according to military spokesperson Ann Stefanek, “represented himself as a background investigator seeking service records for employment purposes.”
In the wake of the alarming revelations, Bacon and Nunn have demanded a formal investigation into whether the actions of the political opposition research firm were actually illegal, as Politico notes.
“I understand the evidence has been turned over to the Department of Justice and I expect those who break the law to be prosecuted. This was more than just 'dirty tricks' by Democrat operatives, but likely violations of the law,” said Bacon.
Nunn was equally incensed, stating, “The recent targeting of Members of Congress's personnel military records [and] the breach of sensitive data...taken by political hacks isn't only a violation of public trust – it's criminal.”
Dellicker echoed the others' sentiments, adding in a statement, “I trust that federal law enforcement authorities will investigate and prosecute this brazen attack on military information systems. I hope they follow the money trail to see who paid this sleazy firm for its illegal activities.”
Green, who pointed the finger at her Democrat opponent in the November midterms, Frank Mrvan, for setting the wheels in motion for the release of her records, and her spokesperson, Kevin Hansberger demanded justice for everyone victimized by the unlawful conduct.
“There must be full transparency of the investigation and its findings. Those responsible for these illegal acts should face criminal charges and be held accountable for their actions,” Hansberger said.
The entire episode, Hansberger contended, is evidence that Democrats “will go to any lengths necessary, even breaking the law, to protect their interests,” as Politico noted.
Republicans on the House Oversight and Armed Services Committees have requested that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin submit by Feb. 27 a complete list of all those affected by the improper disclosures and to provide details on any actions, “administrative or punitive,” taken against those involved in the breaches as well as information on whether criminal referrals have been made. Whether the Pentagon meets that deadline, however, remains to be seen.