House Republicans are trying to get to the bottom of who in the Air Force violated federal law and leaked personal information on at least seven American citizens, including at least five Republican House candidates.
At the center of the investigation is Abraham Payton former research director of Due Diligence Group. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) paid Due Diligence more than $100,000 between January 2021 and February 2022, and Republicans in the House want to know how much of that money went to acquiring the private information of Republican candidates.
Sam Peters, a Republican who challenged Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.) in November, and Kevin Dellicker, who lost in the GOP primary race to take on Democrat Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.), both received Feb. 8 letters from the Air Force notifying them that Payton made “multiple requests” for their military personnel records last year.
“Look, you sanction a hitman to kill somebody, you’re guilty of a crime. You sanction somebody to steal, you’re guilty of a crime,” Peters said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “And the DCCC needs to be [held to account], and I fully intend on making sure they are.”
Peyton was also in possession of Peters’s and Dellicker’s Social Security numbers. How he got that sensitive information is unknown.
The Air Force has identified 11 people in total as affected by the “unauthorized release of military duty information.” That number includes Bacon, Nunn, Peters, Dellicker and former House GOP candidate Jennifer-Ruth Green of Indiana.
Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek said the military branch launched an internal audit after POLITICO reported on Green’s records in October. Green has confirmed that her records were released to Due Diligence.
POLITICO was told by the person who gave it Green’s military records that they were obtained through a public records request. POLITICO reviewed the request for the records made by a third party, which sought a “publicly releasable/redacted copy of OMPF [Official Military Personnel File] per Freedom of Information Act statutes.” The requester identified the purpose of the request as relating to “benefits,” “employment” and “other.”
Unless you want to believe the Air Force employee who fulfilled Peyton’s illegal requests is brain dead, you have to conclude that they knew exactly what he was doing in sending personal, private information to a Democratic political operative.
“This social engineering trick that [Payton] pulled was made more credible because according to the Air Force, he already had my Social Security number. Now, the Air Force still isn’t supposed to release this information without my signature,” Dellicker said in an interview.
Dellicker also released a statement: “I trust that federal law enforcement authorities will investigate and prosecute this brazen attack on military information systems,” Dellicker said. “I hope they follow the money trail to see who paid this sleazy firm for its illegal activities.”
The Air Force says, “[t]here was no evidence of political motivation or malicious intent on the part of any employee.” Clearing their employee without an investigation? That’s a good trick if you can get away with it.
This wasn’t some harmless prank or dirty trick. One House candidate had a sexual assault made public during her campaign.
The Air Force said their discovery came from an internal audit that began following the discovery that Republican Indiana House candidate Jennifer-Ruth Green’s military records were improperly released. Those records, reported on by Politico in October 2022, included details of a sexual assault.
The release of Green’s records led House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., and House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., to send a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin demanding information including a list of the improperly released records of congressional candidates over the past two years and a list of punitive actions taken against those responsible for the leak.
This is one of those “if Republicans were responsible for the leak,”…fill in the rest of the story with variations of Watergate or Russiagate. And don’t you find it strange that this story has been buried, despite the massive implications?
Nothing to see here. Move along.