DoD politicization scandal expands: Files on two more House Republicans leaked to Dem oppo-research group

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Ho hum, nothing to see here, except the Department of Defense helping Democrats defeat Republicans in elections. It turns out that Jennifer-Ruth Green, whose congressional campaign got upended when her victimization by sexual assault got exposed, was not the only Republican to have a confidential file leaked to the opposition.


And give Politico some credit for keeping up with the story:

Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) was informed of the “unauthorized release” in a letter from the Air Force obtained by POLITICO. Rep. Zach Nunn (R-Iowa) said in a statement that he was told by the Air Force that his own records were also disclosed without his approval. …

The Feb. 7 letter Bacon received from the Air Force names Abraham Payton of the research firm Due Diligence LLC as the person who “inappropriately requested copies of your military personnel records for the stated purpose of employment and benefits,” adding that Payton was already in possession of Bacon’s Social Security number. Payton is a former research director for the Democratic political group American Bridge.

Both Bacon and Nunn are calling for an investigation into whether political opposition research turned into illegal activity.

“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 said in a statement to POLITICO. “This was more than just ‘dirty tricks’ by Democrat operatives, but likely violations of the law.”

Committee chairs Mike Rogers and James Comer have already demanded the same information from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. The intent here is to discover who leaked the files to the House Democrat oppo-research firms noted above, with an eye toward referrals for criminal prosecution. Rogers and Comer will likely hold public hearings to dig out the name, and also to find out just how long Payton has been accessing such records. Did this access just start in the 2022 cycle, or did Payton get this kind of access in earlier cycles at American Bridge as well?


Seems like a question worth asking, no?

Do you think House Republicans want to ask it under oath? Ya, you betcha.

Counting Green, that’s three of the eleven leaked files identified by the Air Force. One has to wonder whether Payton or other Democrat operatives managed to get leaks from the other service branches. That will likely also be a question that Rogers and Comer will pursue in the days and weeks to come.

This raises serious questions about politicization of the federal bureaucracy, and especially at the DoD, which is supposed to be scrupulously non-partisan. Even more generally, though, the use of confidential federal files in political campaigns calls into question the entire usefulness of civil-service status, which is supposed to keep the federal bureaucracy non-partisan. That almost seems quaint at this point, given the clear partisan tilt of the public employee unions that represent most of the 2 million-plus federal employees, but the exploitation of access to confidential materials for partisan electoral advantage utterly eviscerates the argument for the civil-service protections now in place that restrict accountability.

We didn’t get to this story in our weekly conversation, but Andrew Malcolm and I had plenty to discuss anyway in the new episode of The Ed Morrissey Show podcast. Today’s show features:

  • Almost exactly one year after Russia invaded Ukraine — and after every Western leader had gone to Kyiv — Joe Biden finally made the trip. Is this too little, too late?
  • Andrew Malcolm and I also discuss the malevolent nature of Biden’s domestic policies.
  • We both found the new New York Times approach to staff revolts to be a refreshing change.
  • Plus, what does Jimmy Carter’s decision to go into hospice show about our cultural struggle to deal with the consequences of aging and extended life?

The Ed Morrissey Show is now a fully downloadable and streamable show at  SpotifyApple Podcaststhe TEMS Podcast YouTube channel, and on Rumble and our own in-house portal at the #TEMS page!

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