In a controversy that initially broke in October, two Republican congressmen have admitted that the U.S. Air Force gave Democrat opposition researchers access to their military records prior to the 2022 midterm elections.
Following a revelation from October outlining the illegal publication of the military documents of Indiana Republican House contender Jennifer-Ruth Green, which sparked an Air Force audit, comes the news that the records of Reps. Don Bacon (R-NE) and Zach Nunn (R-IA) were released. Green accused her rival, Dem. Rep. Frank Mrvan, and his friends of leaking the information, which revealed she had experienced sexual assault while serving in the military.
According to a spokesperson for the Air Force, Ann Stefanek, “virtually all unapproved disclosures had been in response to a third party that represented himself as a background examiner looking to find service records for work purposes through a procedure commonly utilized by other government agencies to perform employee background checks.”
The Air Force alerted Bacon that Abraham Payton, a director of research for the David Brock-founded Dem. Super PAC American Bridge 21st Century, had “inappropriately obtained copies of your service personnel records for the stated purpose of employment and benefits,” according to the Air Force.
According to Bacon, who spoke to POLITICO, “I understand the material has been given to the Justice Dept. and I expect those who violate the law to be prosecuted.” “This was more than simply ‘dirty tricks’ by Democratic insiders; there were probably legal breaches involved.”
Nunn continued, “The current targeting of Members of Congress’s personnel military records as well as the breach of sensitive information… obtained by political hacking is not just a violation of public trust— it’s a crime.”
According to Federal Election Commission records, the House Democratic campaign arm spent more than $110,000 on Due Diligence between Jan. 2021 and Dec. 2022.
In a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last week, Chair of the Armed Services Committee Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Chair of the Oversight Committee James Comer (R-KY) raised the issue.
The letter said, “The Office of the Secretary of the Air Force (OSAF) has notified the Committee that it released records for 11 individuals over a 14-month period ranging from Oct. 2021 to Dec. 2022 to a private research company that supposedly misrepresented itself to gain access to the personnel files without permission or consent. The Air Force’s actions are, at the very least, unacceptable. The research firm’s actions may have been illegal.”
The leaks, according to Green spokesperson Kevin Hansberger, demonstrate the lengths to which Democrats will go in order to learn potentially harmful information about the other candidates.
“The study and its conclusions must be completely transparent,” according to Hansberger. “The perpetrators of these unlawful crimes ought to be prosecuted and held accountable for their actions.”