We already knew of one particularly egregious case of the Air Force releasing confidential records to a Democrat opposition research firm. Republican candidate Jennifer-Ruth Green’s military records were given to Politico last year at the height of the campaign, revealing some deeply personal information.

The records were illegally obtained and then shopped to the outlet in order to hurt her chances. She was not likely to win in any case in a deeply Democrat district, but the attack was a low blow and led to an investigation of the illegal release.

Well, that investigation has led to 11 such cases where political operatives were illegally handed military records for political purposes. The Air Force has not released the results of the investigation, but it has informed the people involved including Congressman Don Bacon (R-Neb.).

Two Republican lawmakers say the Air Force alerted them that their military records were improperly released during the midterm campaign.

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.

Bacon said Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall first told him that an internal probe revealed 11 people’s records were disclosed and that the Air Force would send the results of its inquiry to the Justice Department — while offering no further information on whether a formal DOJ investigation would result. The GOP lawmaker called for a probe of the role played by a Democratic-linked firm that the Air Force told him “inappropriately requested” his personnel records.

The DOJ declined to comment. Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek said “virtually all” of the 11 unapproved releases were made to the same third party “who represented himself as a background investigator seeking service records for employment purposes.”

As suspicious as it is that this sort of thing is happening under Joe Biden, as far as I know, there is no indication that anybody far up the chain of command was aware of any of the illegal activities taking place.

In an organization as large as the Air Force lots of bad things can take place without anybody knowing. Only a thorough investigation will get to the bottom of things, and only a full airing of the facts will reassure us that this wasn’t a coordinated hit job.

I sincerely doubt it, though. I suspect that this sort of thing happens in lots of organizations, and the best way to stop it is to severely punish all involved.

One of those involved who should be severely punished is Adam Payton.

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.

Payton is clearly a very bad guy to do this sort of thing. This, to be honest, is true of a lot of opposition research types. Their job is not to be ethical, but effective. Even to construct bogus things like the Steele Dossier. Unfortunately, when they break the law they usually get away with it.

“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.”

Nunn also suggested that the disclosure of his records amounted to criminal activity.

“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,” he said in a statement.

The release of Jennifer-Ruth Green’s records was particularly egregious, as they contained evidence of a sexual assault she endured during her time in service. Why the Democrats thought it was acceptable to shop these facts to the media, and why Politico thought it was relevant to share with the public is…unknown. We can only guess.

What we can be sure of is that both Politico and the Democrats involved were willing to cause personal pain to share irrelevant information with the public, which is shameful.

After POLITICO’s initial reporting on Green’s Air Force records, Green responded that the material was “illegally” obtained. Her records referenced a sexual assault she experienced during her time in service.

Green blamed Mrvan and his allies for the release. Mrvan’s campaign has denied any involvement, and a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee told Fox News at the time that “we would never use anyone’s experience with sexual assault against them.”

Green spokesperson Kevin Hansberger said in a statement last week that the release of her “and other Republicans’ personal records is reprehensible and illegal.”

“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 added.

Hansberger reiterated Green’s previous argument that political opponents were behind the release of her records, saying that the incident shows that Democrats “will go to any lengths necessary, even breaking the law, to protect their interests.”

The “none of us did it” excuse is thinner than tissue paper. Somebody did it, and they were the ones who illegally obtained the records.

This is the seedy underbelly of politics. People do reprehensible things for much less than a shot at having some control over spending trillions of dollars, a nice sinecure, and a lifetime pension with great future job prospects. The lust for power leads to this.

Every person who argues that “government should do…” is also giving a hearty thumbs up to this kind of behavior, and asking for more of it. The higher the stakes involved, the lower people will go to get their share of the spoils.

The government almost never solves the problems that it claims to tackle, but it does a fine job of feathering the nests of the people who wield that power.

Less, not more power should reside in the hands of politicians.

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