The U.S. Air Force has taken responsibility for the wrongful release of the confidential personnel records of a Republican running for Congress from Indiana’s 1st Congressional District. The leaked records contain sensitive details about her sexual assault while in the service.
Jennifer-Ruth Green is the GOP nominee going up against incumbent Rep. Frank Mrvan (D-IN), who first won the seat in 2020.
Two GOP House Members from Indiana issued a joint statement relating the details of a conversation with Air Force Inspector General Lt. Gen. Stephen Davis about the leak.
Reps. Jim Banks (R-IN) and Larry Bucshon (R-IN) said that they were provided details about how Green’s records came to be released by the Air Force Personnel Center. Banks serves on the House Armed Services Committee.
The statement said that Davis informed the congressmen that the leaker of Green’s records “has been identified and will be held accountable.” An investigation is also reportedly underway to determine whether the leaker had any political or financial motives as well as whether they acted alone or in cooperation with any other persons or organizations.
The Inspector General also said the Air Force is examining whether it “needs to strengthen policies related to its handling of confidential records.”
Green’s confidential records became part of a Politico report earlier this month by reporter Adam Wren. The report alleged that the records were obtained through a normal public records request and were obtained from “a person outside the Mrvan campaign.”
The Politico report stated that Green was sexually assaulted by an Iraqi serviceman by “grabbing her breast and exposing himself” during a visit to the national training center.
The statement by Banks and Bucshon said that the USAF has “improperly affected a competitive House race” and they demanded full transparency for the benefit of voters in advance of Election Day. They identified the person who provided the leaked records to the Politico reporter as an “opposition research firm” who intended to “smear a servicemember who happens to be running for public office.”
Oppo researchers do public records requests all the time to give fodder to their buddies in the media, the big red flag here is that a record of a victim of sexual assault in the military would not be a PUBLIC record responsive to a records request. So how’d they get it?
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) October 26, 2022
Christina Pushaw, who has extensive experience in dealing with media relations as a member of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ reelection campaign, said opposition research firms often do public records requests in order to give media outlets cover for publishing confidential material. The records reported by Politico were clearly not subject to disclosure under a public records request.
A spokesperson for the Air Force Inspector General’s office told reporters that it appears the confidential records were released by a “junior individual who didn’t follow proper procedures.”
Green wrote to the U.S. Attorney with jurisdiction over the matter earlier this month, requesting an investigation into how the documents made their way to Politico. She said that since the report was published in the closing weeks of her campaign for Congress, it appeared clear to her that it was a politically motivated leak.