Two GOP congressmen have revealed that the U.S. Air Force leaked their military records to Democrat opposition researchers during the 2022 midterm campaign, widening a scandal that first surfaced in October.
The news that the military records of Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) and Rep. Zach Nunn (R-IA) were leaked follows a report from October detailing the unauthorized release of the military records of Indiana GOP House candidate Jennifer-Ruth Green, which prompted an Air Force audit. Green blamed her opponent, Democrat Rep. Frank Mrvan, and allies of his for the release of the information, which included a disclosure she had been sexually assaulted while in the military.
“Virtually all unauthorized disclosures were in response to a third party who represented himself as a background investigator seeking service records for employment purposes through a process commonly used by other federal agencies to conduct employee background checks,” Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek stated, according to POLITICO.
Bacon was informed by the Air Force that Abraham Payton of the research firm Due Diligence LLC — who had formerly served as a research director for the David Brock-founded Democrat Super PAC American Bridge 21st Century — was the person who “inappropriately requested copies of your military personnel records for the stated purpose of employment and benefits.”
“I understand the evidence has been turned over to the Department of Justice and I expect those who break the law to be prosecuted,” Bacon told POLITICO. “This was more than just ‘dirty tricks’ by Democrat operatives, but likely violations of the law.”
“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,” Nunn added.
Federal Election Commission records show that between January 2021 and December 2022, Due Diligence was paid over $110,000 by the House Democratic campaign arm.
Last week, Armed Services Chair Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Oversight Chair James Comer (R-KY) wrote a letter about the matter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
“The Office of the Secretary of the Air Force (OSAF) has informed the Committee that it released 11 individuals’ records over a 14-month period from October 2021-December 2022 to a private research firm which allegedly misrepresented itself in order to obtain access to the personnel records without authorization or consent,” the letter stated. “This conduct by the Air Force is, at a minimum, unacceptable. The conduct by the research firm is quite possibly criminal.”
Green spokesperson Kevin Hansberger said the leaks show how far Democrats are willing to go in an effort to get potentially damaging information on rival candidates.
“There must be full transparency of the investigation and its findings,” Hansberger said. “Those responsible for these illegal acts should face criminal charges and be held accountable for their actions.”