BREAKING: Pentagon confirms Kirk violated policy
From the statement:
In December 2008, Commander Kirk, while on active duty, participated in video discussions in the media about the unfolding situation involving then-Governor Blagojevich of Illinois. Members of the Armed Forces on active duty may not participate in television discussions as an advocate for or against a partisan political party, candidate, or cause.The statement explains the "partisan political activities" referred to in the December 18, 2009 DoD memo published here last week.
In July 2009, while on active duty in the Washington area, either Commander Kirk or a staff member posted a "twitter" to his Senate campaign web site that indicated he was on duty at the National Military Command Center. At the time, Commander Kirk was a candidate for the Senate. Candidates for political office may not participate in any campaign activities while on active duty. They may not update or revise their websites, and they must inform their campaign staff of the applicable restrictions.
Department of Defense Directive 1344.10, Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces, addresses these matters.
More important is that the statement basically points out Kirk has continued to lie about these events.
Commander Kirk was counseled about each of his violations after they occurred and signed a statement acknowledging the limitations on his ability to participate in campaign activities while on active duty. He was required to complete this acknowledgement before being allowed to begin active duty in December 2009. (Italics mine.)So, while Kirk has been saying publicly the memo was "off the mark," the Pentagon says he was counseled about the violations and, therefore, Kirk knows his statement that he has "never violated Defense Department policies" is, in fact, a lie.
Update: This post has been edited for clarity.
Update: The Tribune's John Chase has also picked up the story.
he Pentagon today offered details to support its assertion that Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk twice violated military policy by participating in political activities while on active duty -- once in 2008 and once in 2009.I'm starting to get offended by the way these guys refuse to say where these "questions were raised," but I guess I'd be embarrassed too if I were a reporter for a major daily getting punked by little old me.
Kirk--a congressman and Navy reserve commander--broke the rules when he gave TV interviews in December 2008 about the corruption arrest of then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the Defense Department said. Kirk violated policy again in July 2009 when he or a staff member posted a tweet on his Senate campaign Twitter account that indicated he was on duty at the National Military Command Center, the department said.
The explanation came a week after questions were first raised about a December waiver from the military that Kirk needed to serve in Afghanistan. The Pentagon referred to the policy violations in that waiver, adding fodder to the controversy over Kirk's embellishment of his military record. The five-term North Shore congressman is engaged in tough Senate race with Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, the state treasurer.
The Pentagon approved the waiver and allowed Kirk to go to Afghanistan but expressed “concerns arising from his partisan political activities during his last two tours of active duty.”
Kirk’s campaign denied he violated any Defense Department policies and called the memorandum written by Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Gail H. McGinn “simply off the mark.”
Update: As Rich Miller points out, Mark Kirk's response is "nonsensical." I think the key here is that Kirk spent a month saying his previous falsehoods were misstatements, misrememberings and clerical errors. Yet just last week he told Rich he had “never violated Defense Department policies.” Now we know he was lying when he released that statement, which shines a new light on his previous statements.
* Major Cunningham's rank has been adjusted. I initially listed her as a lieutenant colonel and she's been accepted for promotion, but hasn't pinned on the new rank yet. Congratulations, Lt. Col.!