WASHINGTON, D. C. – A new investigative subcommittee that Ohio’s Jim Jordan is using to probe “weaponization of the federal government” announced a new target on Thursday: the U.S. Air Force.
Jordan joined with Utah Republican Chris Stewart in a letter asking U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall to provide them with details on cases where the Air Force improperly released information from several servicemembers’ personnel files to political operatives.
Politico reported last month that the Air Force told a pair of Republican congress members, Don Bacon of Nebraska and Zach Nunn of Iowa, that it had improperly released their military records during the 2022 election without their consent.
The publication reported that an internal Air Force probe revealed that 11 people’s records were improperly disclosed and that “virtually all” of the unapproved releases were made to the same third party “who represented himself as a background investigator seeking service records for employment purposes.”
An Air Force spokesperson told CNN its employees “did not follow proper procedures requiring the member’s authorizing signature consenting to the release of information,” but said there was “no evidence of political motivation or malicious intent on the part of any employee.”
The lawmakers wrote in their letter to Austin that the Air Force’s conduct “is, at a minimum, unacceptable.”
Jordan’s letter called the releases “a serious breach of law and servicemember privacy,” and said an opposition research firm called the Due Diligence Group, which received money from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), obtained the Air Force records.
The letter asks the Air Force to give his committee information on all documents and communications referring or relating to the U.S. Air Force’s disclosure of official military personnel files to the Due Diligence Group, excluding the contents of the personnel files themselves, since January 2021.
Jordan also asked the Air Force to provide his committee with all documents and communications relating to its notification to affected servicemembers whose personnel information was improperly disclosed.
An Air Force veteran who ran for Congress in Ohio last year, J.R. Majewski of Port Clinton, ran into difficulties after the Associated Press reported he misrepresented his military record by claiming to have served in Afghanistan when he was actually stationed in Qatar. National Republicans canceled ad buys on his behalf, and he lost the election.
Majewski disputed the story, calling it “an attempt to smear my campaign.” In a Friday interview, he said Associated Press obtained his service records “without my permission or knowledge,” and said it violated his privacy. He said the news outlet had service records it should not have been able to legally obtain without his signature, and that he’s “been speaking with Congress about this for about a month or more.”
Associated Press spokesperson Lauren Easton said Friday the outlet “stands by its story.”
The chairs of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability sent their own letter on the topic last month to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, following reports that the Air Force improperly released Indiana Republican congressional candidate Jennifer Ruth-Green’s personnel information to Due Diligence Group.
U.S. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, a Florida Republican who served in the U.S. Air Force, posted a statement on Twitter to say she believes her records were also leaked.
“This is likely going to be a criminal investigation,” said Luna, who has asked the Air Force for information on whether it released her records.