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*** UPDATED x1 *** Should campaign have posted while candidate was on duty?

Thursday, Jul 30, 2009 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The other day I was surfing around as usual and a couple of tweets on Mark Kirk’s US Senate campaign Twitter page jumped out at me…

Being the son of two (now retired) Department of Defense civilian employees, I’ve long been aware of and sensitive to the military’s campaign restrictions

It is DoD policy that a member of the Armed Forces (hereafter referred to as “member”) is encouraged to carry out the obligations of a citizen. While on AD [Active Duty], however, members are prohibited from engaging in certain political activities. Subject to the guidelines in enclosure 3, the following DoD policy shall apply:

1. General

a. A member on AD may:

(1) Register, vote, and express his or her personal opinion on political candidates and issues, but not as a representative of the Armed Forces.

(2) Make monetary contributions to a political organization-

(3) Attend partisan and nonpartisan political meetings or rallies as a spectator when not in uniform.

b. A member on AD shall not:

(1) Use his or her official authority or influence for interfering with an election; affecting the course or outcome of an election; soliciting votes for a particular candidate or issue; or requiring or soliciting political contributions from others.

(2) Be a candidate for, or hold, civil office except as authorized in subsections D.2. and D.3., below.

(3) Participate in partisan political management, campaigns, or conventions.

(4) Make campaign contributions to another r of the Armed Forces or an employee of the Federal Government.

Kirk is a Naval Reservist, and he appeared to be on duty when those posts were made, and his Twitter site is clearly a campaign site…

Be sure to check out our Senate campaign splash page at
11:36 AM Jul 23rd

* So, I called the Pentagon. The first person I talked to wondered aloud whether Kirk had violated any rules by disclosing his location while on duty.

That wouldn’t be a good thing.

But the other question I had was whether this violated some sort of anti-campaigning rule.

I had asked the Kirk campaign for comment around the same time, and eventually received this e-mail, which I then forwarded to the Pentagon…

“Congressman Kirk did not post while on duty. In situations when he is unable to use Twitter, (i.e. while on reserve duty) a staff member posts a preapproved tweet.”

* Meanwhile, the Navy expects to issue a statement by the beginning of next week. In the interim, they offered me this…

“We’re aware of the tweets by Congressman Kirk during a recent drill weekend here at the Pentagon and we’re going to be looking into the matter.”

Whether or not Kirk or a staffer posted those tweets, I’m still not sure he should’ve done it, so I’m wondering what you think.

Have at it.

*** UPDATE *** Actually, those regs posted above are a bit dated. Here is a more recent military directive

4.3.3. Any member on active duty who is permitted to be, or otherwise not prohibited from being, a nominee or candidate for office as described in subparagraph 4.2.1. may NOT participate in any campaign activities. This includes open and active campaigning and all behind-the-scene activities. For example, such members described in this paragraph who are candidates or nominees may not: Direct, control, manage, or otherwise participate in their campaign, including behind-the-scene activities. Publish or allow to be published partisan political articles, literature, or documents that they have signed, written, or approved that solicit votes for or against a partisan political party, candidate, issue, or cause.

4.3.4. Those members included in subparagraph 4.3.3. who are nominees or candidates for office must: Take affirmative, documented efforts to inform those who work for them and those whom they control that they (the nominees or candidates) may not direct, control, manage, or otherwise participate in campaign activities on their own behalf. Take all reasonable efforts to prevent current or anticipated advertisements that they (the nominees or candidates) control from being publicly displayed or running in any media. This includes Web sites devoted to the nomination or candidacy. Web sites created before entry on active duty may not be updated or revised and may be ordered shut down as the Secretary concerned may direct.


  1. - Hmm - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 10:29 am:

    Seems borderline at best - as in, yeah he probably should not have done that. (Or had a staffer do it, or whatever.) I’m all for patriotism, but the rules are the rules.

    Yet another valid conversation topic here on an issue brought about by the wealth of instant information available today. We keep seeing more and more of this kind of stuff nowadays and politicians (and everyone) will have to stay on their toes when it comes to the rules. Glad you brought this up Rich.

  2. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 10:37 am:

    Careful there, Congressman. Something’s not right here.

    From the campaign:

    “Congressman Kirk did not post while on duty. In situations when he is unable to use Twitter, (i.e. while on reserve duty) a staff member posts a preapproved tweet.”

    July 25 tweet:

    “On duty @ the Pentagon’s National Military Command Center. All is currently (relatively) quiet…”

    How can you pre-approve that message? How would one know ahead of time if it’s “relatively quiet.”

    Campaign aside, while he’s on duty, is he authorized to be releasing messages from the Pentagon. Is that part of his job?

  3. - Really? - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 10:39 am:

    Clearly, this violates the spirt and the letter of the law. He is suppose to be protecting our nation and he is sending texts divulging his location. Sounds like he is using his service for all the wrong reasons. He should be ashamed.

  4. - Sewanee - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 10:39 am:

    A staff member posted it, so what’s the big deal? Just because Kirk is on AD doesn’t mean his campaign staff and volunteers can’t keep working. Reporting on this seems like a fishing expedition to me.

  5. - George - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 10:43 am:

    It seems pretty clear that Kirk is going to try and leverage his current service during the campaign as much as possible. And that is perfectly fine.

    What he may not want to do is start the discussion up again about being an intelligence officer, in the run up to the war in Iraq (and maybe or maybe not delegated to the CIA) while in Congress.

    Being a soldier on the ground is one thing in a campaign. Being one of the guys who told us about, and were supposed to find, those weapons of mass destruction is another.

  6. - Rob_N - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 10:43 am:

    If it’s actually a staffer tweeting then say so, maybe something like “Elk: Mark is on duty now. Proud to be so and hoping for calm day for troops.”

    His “markkirk” twitter site is definitely a campaign tool since he not only tweets prompts to join the campaign, etc but his photo also clearly shows him in campaign mode (at a parade, with a banner).

    And the first thing I thought when reading the screen capture was what the Pentagon staffer thought — he’s disclosing his location while on active duty for all the world to see.

    If the situation were reverse and, say, an opponent like Dan Seals were hired as a professor at a local, internationally-recognized University but was calling himself a “professor” before actually teaching in a classroom … my hunch is Team America would be all over it like white on rice. ;)

    His past Congressional campaigns and his current Senate campaign have heavily featured photos of him in uniform as well as commentary about his military career as “biographical background” (which is allowed under Pentagon protocols).

    This clearly pushes that boundary at least right up to the no-can-do line if not past it.

    Then again, he serves in an Intelligence capacity yet is also a current Member of Congress, also a no-no. Those spheres are supposed to be separate.

  7. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 10:44 am:

    Watch out Rich, Sarah Palin is going to be all over you for questioning the actions of one of our troops.

  8. - doubtful - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 10:45 am:

    When Kirk does his reserve duty he serves at the Pentagon. This is not a secret. Heck, I think it’s been reported in the media before.

    As for political activity while on duty, a staff member posted it. If you really think politicians personally make facebook and twitter posts, then I have some swampland in Florida to sell you.

  9. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 10:48 am:

    Kirk should be more careful, because if he pushes his role as a serviceman too far into his campaign, people will start to question his motives.

    It’s a fine line…

  10. - Ghost - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 10:50 am:

    it seems like a bad idea for an intelligience officer to be commenting about the status of the command center.

  11. - GWOT Vet - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 10:52 am:

    The DOD campaign restrictions apply to those on active duty for more than 270 days. Less stringent rules apply for those on duty for under 270 days.

    The Twitter post shown above is dated Saturday, July 25, at 5:55pm–no different than Alexi doing his campaign announcement over the weekend.

    Mark is in the same boat as Alexi in that they are both considered “on the clock” 24/7. If he were an hourly employee, it would be a different matter.

  12. - George - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 10:53 am:

    “it seems like a bad idea for an intelligience officer to be commenting about the status of the command center.”

    good point. And a little ironic, huh?

    Maybe he is sending out misleading tweets so the enemy is thrown off. Maybe it ISN’T (relatively) quiet!!!

  13. - Team America - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 10:53 am:

    Rob_N - Seals did indeed prematurely claim a credential that he hadn’t yet earned, and moreover, he eventually admitted that in fact, he was hired as a ‘lecturer’ to teach a night school class at NU. He was never entitled to call himself a professor, which title is zealously guarded by ‘real’ professors, since you have to earn it.

    I don’t know what the heck you think that has to do with Rich’s post.

  14. - Much to do About Nothing - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 10:55 am:

    Fine line, but it’s ok for some political mope (Congressman, Senator and Governor) running around Iraq and Afghanistan for every photo op possible?

  15. - Rob_N - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 10:55 am:


    Not to be too cynical but his campaign is saying AFTER BEING CAUGHT that a staffer posted those messages while he was on duty.

    As Word points out, how can the staff know it would be a “relatively quiet day” ahead of time… and why would they be so careless as to word the post so as to sound as if Kirk himself is writing it from w/in the walls of his on-duty location?

    Kirk’s campaigns have had a habit of quickly revising recent history in the media so as to spit-polish Kirk’s image.

    And finally, I don’t think the family of Pfc. Wayne Vincent thinks Saturday was a “(relatively) quite day” in Afghanistan.

    At minimum, this was an incredibly careless, insensitive, ill-planned campaign mistake.

    At worst, it’s a violation of military protocols and Commander Kirk should be sanctioned appropriately by his superiors.

  16. - Yellow Dog - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 10:55 am:

    From Twitter’s Terms of Service:

    Basic Terms

    2. You are responsible for any activity that occurs under your screen name.

    3. You are responsible for keeping your password secure.

    4. You must not abuse, harass, threaten, impersonate or intimidate other Twitter users.

    5. You may not use the service for any illegal or unauthorized purpose.

    6. You are solely responsible for your conduct and any data, text, information, screen names, graphics, photos, profiles, audio and video clips, links (”Content”) that you submit, post, and display on the service.

    10. You must not, in the use of Twitter, violate any laws in your jurisdiction (including but not limited to copyright laws).

  17. - Fed Up - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 10:56 am:

    This is typical of the politicans in Illinois. “The rules apply to everyone but me”.

  18. - IL observer - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 10:57 am:

    It does look bad. Kirk should drop out. He’s a drag on the GOP ticket anyway. Kirk will have more Republicans staying home than a massive ice storm on primary day.

  19. - Amy - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:01 am:

    i’m a democrat and i say this is bad for us….cause it points out that he is doing military service! and not putting out a press
    release about it. sure, Twitter is out there, but it’s not quite the same thing as bleating to the mainstream media.

    but, speaking of Twitter, i do wonder about those who tweet while, say, in a meeting with the governor. i know many think this is really cool when blackberry/twitter/iphone messages from pols are rushed out to keep us in the public in the insider know. i find it to violate the spirit of a smallish meeting. i also wonder how much the twittiot is paying attention to the matters at hand.

  20. - GWOT Vet - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:04 am:

    Rob_N, could you elaborate on your statement

    “Then again, he serves in an Intelligence capacity yet is also a current Member of Congress, also a no-no. Those spheres are supposed to be separate.”

    I’ve got a TS clearance and have done intel work, and was never briefed on such a restriction. Your source?

  21. - Conservative Veteran - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:05 am:

    Kirk won’t cause many Republicans to stay home, on Feb. 2. The majority of Republicans will vote for his conservative primary opponent, Dr. Eric Wallace.

  22. - Captain Flume - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:06 am:

    When Rep. Jim Watson was on AD in Iraq, we knew he was going and where he was, and I seem to remember that we “heard” from him during his tour there. I was not aware of any campaigning he or his campaign staff engaged in while he was on AD, but I don’t live in his district and I don’t recall any news organizations reporting such, though maybe he did and it was not “news.” I don’t understand what the deal is with this Kirk thing.

  23. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:12 am:

    ==it points out that he is doing military service! and not putting out a press release about it==

    But then, if he’s twittering on and on about it, it’s the same thing. This is no “quiet service.”

    The better response would have been that he was twittering during some down time, he probably shouldn’t have been, and he’s sorry. The whole “a staffer was doing it” makes it look like he was either caught doing something he should not have and is lying about it OR he’s got his campaign staff pushing his service in an unseemly way.

    The tweets were certainly submitted in a way that would imply Kirk was sending them, I doubt that was an accident.

  24. - GWOT Vet - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:18 am:

    Rich, your reguation does not apply to Kirk. Read further:

    “4.2.3. A retired regular member or Reserve Component member on active duty under a call or order to active duty for 270 days or fewer may remain or become a nominee or candidate for the offices set out in subparagraph 4.2.1. provided there is no interference with the performance of military duty.”

    He is allowed to do this on duty time. The question is, did it interfere with his military duties?

  25. - Been There - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:18 am:

    I say give him a ticket for the violation since it is less than 1 gram of a mistake.

  26. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:20 am:

    GWOT Vet, all that says is he can become a candidate. It doesn’t exempt him from the other provisions.

  27. - Anon - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:21 am:

    How about a QOTD — what kind of sentence should he get, if court martialed? Except for so-called “nonjudicial punishment” (Captain’s mast, in the Navy) the UCMJ provides for only two types of punishment provisions — “shall be punished as a court-martial may direct” or “shall be punished by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.” That’s a LOT of discretion.

  28. - Anon - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:22 am:

    Great catch Rich. It demonstrates my belief that those elected officials in DC play a bit loose and, for whatever reason, are given a pass. This reminds me of JJJ sending out campaign related materials regarding the senate seat through his official government email. This stinks and those responsible for overseeing these activities need to do their jobs better.

  29. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:22 am:

    Anon, aren’t you getting a bit ahead of the story here?

  30. - Been There - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:23 am:

    ===If you really think politicians personally make facebook and twitter posts===

    Hey doubtful, you can keep your swampland but I do think some pols probably are doing their own postings.

    Suzana Mendoza: thinks Nick’s Fishmarket has the best tuna springroll on earth…or at least the city. Mmmmm

  31. - bored now - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:25 am:

    don’t you think that his military service is really campaign related anyway? i understand that kirk pushed hard for the afghanistan assignment (which you have to give him props for, even if it was in during the traditional winter break in fighting)…

  32. - Old Elephant - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:25 am:

    Don’t be goofy.

    Twitter is a social networking site that is free to users. Calling it a “campaign site” is misleading. No one has a “Twitter Site.” You use the service to offer feeds to anyone who wants them.

    Unlike a web site, which requires someone to pay for the hosting, the cost of Twitter is borne by third-parties (I recommend everyone read “Free” by Chris Anderson, to understand more about the free economy).

    Each “tweet” must be judged individually, since the only relevance is whether or not there is any associated cost of the speech and whether or not that is borne by the individual, the campaign or the public.

    The closest, but still flawed, analogy would be a phone call. You can use a phone to make a political call to a person one day and then use a phone to make a governmental call the next day to the same person.

    The legitimate questions that might come up in a phone call are largely irrelevant in the case of most tweets — since the common carrier costs of tweeting are not paid by the users. The only relevance would be what “device” was used to make the tweet.

    Using the service for a public tweet one hour and for a campaign tweet the next hour is far different than posting both political announcements on a governmental website or using government stationary to send out political releases.

    As far as violating any military “secrets” I’ll leave that up to the experts, but I can’t imagine Congressman Kirk is under any prohibition from telling people he is on duty at the Military Command Center. That’s not secret, classified or in any way compromising security.

    Thousands of people go to work at the Pentagon every day and they are under no restriction prohibiting them from telling people where they work.

    This is far different than disclosing the arrival of a congressional delegation in a war zone.

    Bottom line: Kirk is doing nothing wrong and this is a lame attempt to create controversy where there is none.

  33. - Rob_N - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:26 am:


    Thanks for proving my point.

    And since you seem to have forgotten yet again Seals was, at the time, an adjunct professor.

    So maybe you can explain why it’s not ok for an adjunct professor to call himself a professor but it is ok for an on-duty Reservist to reveal his location and promote political activity while on duty.

    Or is it only ok because he’s a Republican and Republicans can get away with such shenanigans (among others) without question?

  34. - GWOT Vet - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:27 am:

    Rich, I’ve come across this several times in my military capacity. The regulation you cite applies only to “4.3.3. Any member on active duty… ”

    Kirk is not on active duty. He’s essentially a weekend warrior. Yes, he wears it on his sleeve, but if his activities doesn’t interfere with his duties, as defined by his superiors, it’s not against the reg you cite.

  35. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:27 am:

    OE, did you click the link? It’s got a link to his campaign website in his “bio,” and a campaign graphic on the left side of the page.

    It’s used as a campaign site, so it is.

    As far as the military secret thing, I didn’t even think about that until the officer at the Pentagon suggested it could be a problem.

  36. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:30 am:

    –Bottom line: Kirk is doing nothing wrong and this is a lame attempt to create controversy where there is none.

    Kirk seems to believe he can’t post while on active duty. That’s why his campaign is saying that he doesn’t.

  37. - Ghost - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:31 am:

    George, I was shooting for an ironic flavor :)

    Amy, I am nto sure why you draw a distinction between a real time press release accessible by, well the entire world with internet access, and a press release sent to a “main stream” media outlet with a tiny in comparrison to twitter subscriber/viewer base.

    Then again I am not sure I beleive twitter is not classifiabl as main stream media given its wide use. it may be a new form of media, like you tube etc, but the number of users put it well ahead of many other conventionaly called main stream meida.

    Obama brought elections into the electronic age, and showed that those who do not adapt to technological campaigning will be left behind.

  38. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:41 am:

    ==Kirk is not on active duty==

    How is “Back on Duty in the National Command Center” not on duty? I thought that the “one weekend a month, two weeks a year” counted as active duty.

  39. - Team America - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:44 am:

    Rob_N- he was a lecturer. He was always a lecturer, not a professor. The press called him on it.

    Seals himself doesn’t even claim that on his materials anymore (from the current Seals website: “He has lectured on public policy at Northwestern, and served as an Economics Fellow in the U.S. Senate.”) Get over it.

    No one has claimed Kirk was lying in his tweet, regardless of what else you may say about it. So, I still don’t get how you can tie these issues together. But, please, continue to remind everyone of Seals’ resume-padding all you like.

  40. - Louis G. Atsaves - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:45 am:

    Time for the Armed Forces to rewrite those rules to account for modern means of communication, including Tweeting, E-mails, cell phone usage and the like.

    Buried within the rules Rich posted were several admonishments to use “common sense” in sorting all this out.

  41. - Rob_N - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:47 am:

    GWOT vet,

    This is a page from the 2004 Congressional Record. Search for “Mr. Kirk” and you will find a passage wherein he states he is “detailed to the CIA from navy intelligence”.

    Article 1, Section 6 of the United States Constitution clearly states that no member of Congress shall also be appointed to any government office.

    CIA is a gov’t office to which Congressman Kirk was, for a time, detailed as part of his Naval duties.

    …There should’ve been a brighter firewall between his status as a Congressman and his separate job as a Naval reservist detailed to a government agency.

    You can’t both work for a government agency and also oversee it from the Congress — that’s the point of Art. 1, Sect. 6.

  42. - Rob_N - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:54 am:

    Louis, if a Reservist is on duty they should be on duty, not tweeting or emailing or texting or blogging.

    There are no rules against using modern forms of communications save one: leave the communicating for when you’re off duty or otherwise receive permission to do so, as every other man and woman in uniform seems to be able to do.

    Team, the posts are clearly written as if they came directly from Mark Kirk while he was on duty.

    Only after the fact, after being questioned about, did his campaign spokesperson say that the campaign posted them while he was on duty.

    Either the campaign and Kirk are lying and Kirk actually posted the tweets or they are lying by having a campaign staffer impersonating him.

    And the Daily Herald story you linked to says quite plainly, “In the 10th Congressional District’s Democratic primary campaign, candidate Dan Seals of Wilmette has touted his position as an adjunct professor at Northwestern University.” (emph added to point Team’s hypocrisy)

    The question was whether or not he should be using that title before classes started, but he still held the title of “adjunct professor”. Or have you forgotten your own months-long series of posts from that time?!

  43. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:55 am:

    Dems must think Kirk has a chance if they are whining about the minutia already

  44. - Fed up - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:57 am:

    It is borderline and Kirk should do better seperating his
    military service from his campaign . What is more interesting is rich wasn’t conserned withlisa madigan meeting at the white house with obama to discuss a political race . I believe that may be illeagal

  45. - GWOT Vet - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:59 am:


    The reg cited, 4.3.3. uses the term “Active Duty”.

    Drilling reservists and Guard members are in a “select reserve”, “inactive duty”, “drill status”. They have a different duty obligation and are paid differently. For example, reservists and guard members are paid 2 days base pay for each day of inactive duty, but get no Housing or meal allowance, and the time generally does not count towards veterans benefits. They military has no obligation to house them or feed them, and the reservist/guard member [used to pre-9/11] have no military obligation 28 days a month.

    The reg tries to capture those reservists called to active duty by using the 270 day criteria. Only those on “active duty” for more than 270 days are covered by the restrictions cited.

  46. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:01 pm:

    ===I believe that may be illeagal ===

    Every president for decades has conducted political activities in the White House, so I don’t really see the point.

  47. - Rob_N - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:02 pm:


    This is the media asking about it, not Dems (yet).

    Your same lament though could’ve been said about the Kirk-backers’ incessant complaining over Dan Seals’ use of the word “professor” and his gas station PR event last year…

  48. - SWC - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:03 pm:

    Let’s get something straight here, this isn’t like when Geraldo drew troop movements in the sand during the opening of the second Iraq War.

    The major issue here isn’t really Kirk or what he tweeted, but on a much larger scale Twitter and the modern military. This issue will be lost in this forum b/c the nature of the discussion here is Illinois politics and Kirk running for the Senate. However, I’m sure the Pentagon is far more concerned about soldiers in theater twittering about combat movements and fire fights, which has become a major issue– not a a Member of Congress tweeting that he’s going on duty and “hoping for a quiet day for the troops.”

    Moreover, Kirk’s duty at the Pentagon has been reported in the media thousands of times in the past, including reports prior to him going on active duty and even some mentioning him serving in the NMJIC. I’m sure there are even press releases from his office recounting the same information on when and where the Congressman would be on active duty. Never before has this been an issue. Five minutes of research with a simple Google/Lexis Nexis search will clear that up.

  49. - Rob_N - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:06 pm:

    Fed Up,

    Using government agencies for political gain is illegal (as the Bush Administration allegedly did with the Dept of Justice and other agencies it controlled).

    Using the White House for political activities is not — it is also the president’s “house” after all and every American is free to talk politics in their own home.

  50. - Inish - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:06 pm:

    Whether the fact Kirk serves at the Pentagon is general knowledge is not the point you can infer that is where he is but not know.
    If he wants his tweets to continue- they should identify that a staffer is making them on his behalf- and not reference anything to do with his role on duty. PERIOD. No comments about calmness or lack thereof.
    Forget party affiliation- and that he is an intelligence officer- the military code is pretty darn clear and applies to all. If he did this in a race in Virginia- where more military personnel are - my guess is it would have made the front page….

  51. - Amy - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:06 pm:

    Ghost: you are correct, it’s possible to get things out quickly in this new communications atmosphere and lots of ways get big volume. Did Kirk just put this out on Twitter? It’s one thing to have folks pick something up, it’s another to push it out to the traditional big media outlets like the Tribune. of course, just putting it out on Twitter is a strategy in itself. i’m not on Twitter, but I do look at it, just checked to see if Anna Davlantes has posted to say where she is going now that she is gone from the Chicago NBC affiliate.

    ohmygod, i’m defending Kirk. this should be concerning to the democrats….i don’t vote republican, yet he does not scare me.

  52. - Shore - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:08 pm:

    FYI, detailees are not appointed. They are on loan and not considered official parts of that agency. Thanks for playing.

    For some reason I am again caught in the spam filter. But I will try once more. Alexi who wants to be AL-ected to the u.s. senate got a softball interview except for one question last night where phil ponce hit him on his ridiculous campaign ethics pledge which turns out to undermine both his reform record and his campaign pledge. The clip starts at 630, where boy wonder suggests that it’s ok to take money from unions and trial lawyers and state lobbyists because

    “they dont affect the work we do in d.c. and aren’t in it to make a profit”. Total fail, total undermine of message, total undermine of candidate credibility.,8,8&vid=072909c

    This is a BIG deal. This is a 6 year seat that could end up in the hands of a total neophyte politician. The media needs to at once hold him accountable and not let him get away with a false claim.

  53. - Rob_N - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:09 pm:


    The point is that he was essentially promoting his candidacy while on duty by using his political Twitter page.

    This is where the alleged violation is — active duty personnel are, quite simply, not allowed to engage in political activity. What they do on their own time is up to them but what they do on the Pentagon’s time is not.

    He may also have violated location disclosure rules, as the Pentagon civilian staffer noted.

  54. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:09 pm:

    Shore, if you recall, I addressed that very issue here this week.

  55. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:11 pm:

    Something just occurred to me about the ill advised nature of pre-writing a tweet…

    What if something major had broken while he was on duty and his “all is currently (relatively) quiet” tweet was posted by staff?

    Whether or not he violated any rules, and that’s still up for review by the DoD, it was a silly idea to begin with.

  56. - Shore - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:15 pm:

    I don’t think a guy who has no national security experience and never served a day in his life in anything other than a job his fathers money bought him really wants to take on a 1999 naval reservist of the year. This is a fastball down the middle of the plate for Kirk to do a press conferences surrounded by veterans to slam Alexi for taking on men and women who serve in uniform.

    “Alexi has been overseas on vacation, I have been overseas putting my life on the line to serve our nation”.

  57. - GWOT Vet - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:16 pm:


    You mentioned “intelligence capacity” and “Congress” as “spheres [that] are supposed to be separate”. Article 1 Section 6 does not mention “intelligence capacity”. Although I agree with a broad interpretation of this section, Kirk is far from alone (Rep. Shimkus, Rep. Murtha, Rep. Sestak come to mind) as potentially violating this section.

    Strangely enough, Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen recently *encouraged* military personel to do just what Kirk has done, (social network, not campaign) while on duty:

    Consequently, we now have a bunch of young people on MySpace during duty hours tying up bandwidth. I haven’t seen any sanctions over it yet.

    Reading the regs, listening to SECDEF and CJCS, and seeing the regs in practice, Kirk has broken no rules and will face no flak over this.

  58. - Rob_N - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:16 pm:

    Shore, be careful about keeping up with that line about political donations.

    Kirk accepted $1000 from Tony Rezko for his Congressional run. (And that link’s about as conservative a source as you can get)

  59. - Shore - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:16 pm:

    also Rob N. You should have noted that in the 2000 campaign kirk touted his work as a sunday school teacher in Britain in 1982, this amounted to one hour a week of reading to toddlers. Not exactly a grind it out job.

  60. - Rob_N - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:20 pm:

    Rich asks, “What if something major had broken while he was on duty and his “all is currently (relatively) quiet” tweet was posted by staff?”

    A Marine from Florida was KIA on 7/25.

    Like I said at the start, if it’s a campaign staffer actually writing it just say so. Problem solved.

  61. - PSYOP SGT - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:20 pm:

    I will have to check, but I had guidance from our CJA that even using your personal cell phone to advocate a political cause while in your duty office would be a violation of the regs. I try and take things a bit farther then needed, but I’d say this is a clear violation of what the military should be doing, not neccesarily against the regs because I’m not up on them 100%, but if I was training my Soldiers I would use this as a clear cut case of what NOT to do.


  62. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:20 pm:

    ===slam Alexi for taking on men and women who serve in uniform. ===

    I asked his campaign for comment. They have so far refused.

  63. - Louis G. Atsaves - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:20 pm:

    Rob N,

    A fiance of someone currently on their third duty in Iraq regularly receives e-mails, texts and tweets from him. He is on “active duty” over there. I repeat: The Armed Services regulations on these matters may need to be updated to account for all this more recent technology.

    I didn’t think that you would find that comment to be controversial.

    I find the whole thing interesting including the regulations Rich posted and the update.

    I fall into the “I’m not sure he should have done it” but after all that reading it remains a hunch on my part. GWOT Vet posted some definition of “active duty” which gives pause as well. My hunch may prove to be wrong.

    I know you are rabidly anti-Kirk and I admit to being rabidly pro-Kirk, but sometimes you have stop and review the situation carefully before leaping to judgements.

    And what in the world does the Dan Seals “lecturer” controversy have anything to do with all of this anyway? Aren’t you wandering off topic?

  64. - Inish - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:36 pm:

    Don’t mix up the intent- I also get tweets, wmails and facebook postings from my daughter while deployed- but she isn’t a declared candidate with a site that has historically been used to promote my campaign. It isn’t about the use of social media tools but the appearance of violating the spirit of the anti-political campaigning requirement of the military. Blunt the issue- talk about the many facets of his life crossing, the new technology requiring a new deligence- have a staffer tweet on his behalf- like press releases are released by the office about the candidate. Get in front of it- accomplishes two things- “Hey I am hip to new technology, progressive in how to reach and serve my constiuents and I serve the country in a mulitude of ways…including the military” WHether he actually violated the regulation or not- there is absolutely an opportunity here.
    ALexi can only use this as a platform to discuss changing needs of the workplace due to technology… “For example… my opponent recently skirted the regulations, shows a split focus.. blah blah blah…”

  65. - Wumpus - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:39 pm:

    3 k’s in his name. Not saying he is racist, but someone will take this and run.

  66. - I'm Just Saying - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:43 pm:

    Okay, to hang this one on Alexi, is just as dumb as the Chicago GOP/Illinois Review attacking Rich Miller as a total Madigoon Partisan, I’ve seen Miller Attack Democrats and Republicans alike, He’s an equal opprotunity curmudgeon……..

    I’m just saying

  67. - Cheswick - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:44 pm:

    Wumpus, no someone should not. Why would you even think that?

  68. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:46 pm:

    Those were actually pretty funny posts.

  69. - Cheswick - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:54 pm:

    Sorry. I was speed reading. Thought you said “should” take this and run.

  70. - PSYOP SGT - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:57 pm:

    Found it
    From DoD Directive 1344.10
    4.1.5. Activities not expressly prohibited may be contrary to the spirit and intent of this Directive. Any activity that may be reasonably viewed as directly or indirectly associating the Department of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security (in the case of the Coast Guard) or any component of these Departments with a partisan political activity or is otherwise contrary to the spirit and intention of this Directive shall be avoided.

  71. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 12:59 pm:


  72. - Cindy Lou - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:07 pm:

    The message on duty time is not for me to decide whether or not should be happening, but the letting his staff pretend to be him, is. I don’t think I like being mislead to believe it’s him if it’s not. I believe this is now several boo-boo-hiss marks tallied in my mental ‘think about Kirk’ list.

  73. - The Bigger Issue - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:11 pm:

    This was bound to happen. Since when he first came back from DC all out of breath to run for John Porter’s seat, Kirk has exaggerated his military service. Photos of him in flight suits and speeches/articles where he says he “flew” in combat were all part of an effort to give the impression he was a pilot without ever saying “I am a pilot”.

  74. - 10th Indy - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:12 pm:

    Still not sure that a message saying “i’m here hoping for a calm day” qualifies as partisan politics or campaigning. Is he not allowed to communicate while on duty simply because he is running for office?

  75. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:13 pm:

    10th, I think the question is whether he or his staff is allowed to post to a very clearly labeled campaign site while he’s on duty.

  76. - Dooley Dudright - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:31 pm:

    Like Kirk, my Dad was a Commander in the naval reserve. Like Kirk, my Dad was an intelligence officer.

    Even when my siblings and I pressed Dad, he always was evasive and vague about what he did. Year after year after year.

    Unlike Kirk, Dad kept his mouth shut. At all times. With everyone. Even his children. For nearly fifty years.

    No preening. No posturing. No politics.

    Dad died a while back. And he took all of his secrets — from the end of War Two through Korea to the height of Cold War paranoia in the mid sixties — with him.

    Memo to Kirk: politics and military intelligence don’t mix. Ever. EVER.

    And political grandstanding while on duty AS AN INTELLIGENCE OFFICER — innocuous as a Tweet may seem — goes way beyond the pale.

    Time to retire from the navy, Commander Kirk.

    And once you’ve taken retirement, and once you start receiving that handsome naval pension (on top of all of your fab congressional perks), do what my Commander Dad did.

    Clam up. Completely.

    Never speak again of your military service.

    And take all of those navy secrets with you to your grave.

  77. - George - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:40 pm:

    I guess the general rule here is…

    If Kirk cared more about being an intelligence officer than a senator, we wouldn’t have heard one peep (or tweet).

  78. - Watching closely - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:56 pm:

    I love this site and think Rich and company do a great job. That said, is this for real? Look back a few days earlier to the question of the day about what it would take to regain the title of most corrupt state in the union. The crap many IL politicians get away with and we’re going to have an honest debate about this? Come on.

    Have at him on cap’n'trade. Get him on the record about the “birthers.” There are hundreds of tough questions to ask Mark Kirk.

    But for my part, should whether or not he or his campaign posted two sentences of text while he’s serving in the military matter at all? No way.

  79. - just sayin - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 1:58 pm:

    So Mark Kirk was okay with trying to mislead us. He was okay with making us think he was live tweeting.

    But once an issue was raised, he comes up with another story.

    This guy is such a phony.

    This is also more support for my hypothesis that the bigger the twit, the more they tweet.

  80. - 10th Indy - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 2:15 pm:

    Everybody, take a breath.

    Rich asking the question does not mean that he is part of some orchestrated Dem cabal out to get Mark - it demonstrates Rich knows his audience and can pose a question that drives spirited discussion.

    It’s an unusual case. There are not a lot of active reserve candidates for elected office out there, and new communication channels may require clarifications of existing rules. If Kirk’s tweets are an infraction, and judging from the comments here, it is not clear that they are, it’s his naval superior’s job to deal with it.

    But to claim that his 2 sentence tweets mean that the man is neglecting his duty or jeopardizing home land security or trivializing the sacrifice of fellow service members is going overboard.

    Team Kirk should probably ask for a clarification from the navy, if they haven’t already, and move forward accordingly.

  81. - Dudeman - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 2:40 pm:

    It seems we hold standards extremely high for some and extremely low for others.
    How many on this posting have exceeded the posted speed limit or not come to a complete stop at a stop sign? Rich??? That’s illegal.
    This posting is a joke to bring up that Kirk twittered and that was a major infraction. Give me a break. We have major infractions going on in state government that are not being held to the letter of the law. An uncountable number of these small infractions acure in state govt. every day. Investigate that.

  82. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 2:43 pm:

    ===How many on this posting have exceeded the posted speed limit or not come to a complete stop at a stop sign? Rich???===

    How many of us are running for the U.S. Senate?

  83. - phil - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 2:50 pm:

    Rich does some investigative research on Kirk. Thanks. Yet, there has been some buzz that Sen Hamos is advertising her legislative office on her campaign site, and the silence is deafening? Could the Illinois Review be correct???

  84. - phocion - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 2:51 pm:

    The biggest reason I like Kirk is how he inflames both the right wingnuts and the Daily Kooks (Rob N., I’m looking at you). The tweet seems much ado about nothing. Oh, and Rob N., before casting stones about a Rezko contribution, you may want to note that a certain guy named Obama has been funded by Rezko from Day One.

  85. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 2:54 pm:

    ===Yet, there has been some buzz===


    That “buzz” was you posting a link in comments, and the link wasn’t to her site.

  86. - Conservative Veteran - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 3:11 pm:

    Rep. Kirk used franking to send mail to voters who live outside of the 10th Congressional District. Franking should be done, by a congressmen, to send news to voters who live in his or her district. Since he used franking to send letters to the 8th District, that’s a federal crime.

  87. - Ghost - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 3:19 pm:

    === 10th, I think the question is whether he or his staff is allowed to post to a very clearly labeled campaign site while he’s on duty. ===

    I also am a wee bit concerned that he is posting infromation about command center status as well. he is not just campaigning, he is releasing information that does nto appear to have been pre-screened or approved. The militray takes its Confidentiality very seriously, usually.

  88. - 10th Indy - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 3:19 pm:

    ConVet -

    Got anything to support that claim?

  89. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 3:32 pm:

    Kirk seems to believe he can’t post while on active duty. That’s why his campaign is saying that he doesn’t.

    Or someone on his staff made a mistake that Kirk knew or knows nothing about…yet.

  90. - Rob_N - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 3:35 pm:


    “A fiance of someone currently on their third duty in Iraq regularly receives e-mails, texts and tweets from him. He is on “active duty” over there.”

    Being on active duty and sending love notes to your fiance is different than being on active duty and making political statements.

    If your friend had permission from his superiors (ie, it was during R&R) then it’s not a big deal.

    If your friend starts promoting Obama or Pawlenty or Kirk or Giannoulias while on active duty then it is a big deal. That’s verboten.

    “I know you are rabidly anti-Kirk”

    I am? I actually agree with the guy on a few points (disagree on several others, but so be it). I’ve met him on several occasions and he’s a decent guy in person.

    What I’m more strongly opposed to are Team, Shore, et al fibbing and stretching “facts” so as to be unrecognizable… which leads to:

    “And what in the world does the Dan Seals “lecturer” controversy have anything to do with all of this anyway?”

    Just pointing out Team’s hypocrisy when it comes to holding up Kirk and throwing any spit of mud at opponents, that’s all.

  91. - shore - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 4:19 pm:

    Mud was seals, who has never worn a uniform, using a veteran against Kirk. Seals was a district neophyte and if he couldn’t tell the truth on his job title, he probably wasnt going to be straight with us on his job.

    Alexi’s trap will be shut on this because a guy as weak as he is on national security and national issues wants nothing to do with anything other than reminding people about the president. He’s mentally unprepared to be a us senator and not fit to be on the same stage as kirk and Mark is going to wipe the floor with him in debates.

  92. - Louis G. Atsaves - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 4:21 pm:

    Rob N, how does that expression go? Fact stretchers such as yourself shouldn’t live in glass houses? : -)

    You are not rabidly anti-Kirk? LOL!

    Thanks for the laughs at the end of the day! It’ll help when I attend a couple of political meetings tonight!

  93. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 4:33 pm:

    Alexi’s trap will be shut on this because a guy as weak as he is on national security and national issues wants nothing to do with anything other than reminding people about the president.

    “…reminding people about the president”–whom people seem to now believe also needs a bit of help on national security and national issues.

  94. - Rob_N - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 5:53 pm:


    Well, if ya worship the guy I s’pose anyone who questions anything about him might appear “rabidly anti”, eh? :)

  95. - tmaxPA - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 7:04 pm:

    Absolutely this was wrong. The congressperson may think it is just a ‘technicality’ which account he posts from or how he does it, this is an obvious violation of the regulations and the letter of those regs (”cannot… allow to be published”) makes clear the spirit of their intent. “Pimping” his Reserve service like this is shameful and disgraceful, as well as punishable under the UCMJ.

  96. - Lynn S - Thursday, Jul 30, 09 @ 11:33 pm:

    Shore, as someone who taught pre-school Sunday School for 3 1//2 years, I’m going to challenge your remarks. When you teach Sunday School, you have to come up with lesson plans and activities, similar to the work a regular teacher does. Pre-schoolers have their unique classroom challenges (most can’t read, verrrrry short attention spans) but are wonderfully affectionate; others prefer teens (most of whom I would cheerfully sell to a coal mine) because they {supposedly} can read and have decent attention spans.

    I don’t have an issue with Mr. Kirk telling folks about his volunteer experience, but from the sound of your post he inflated it to be more than it was. (I live downstate and have not been subjected to Mr. Kirk’s campaigns yet!)

  97. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 12:57 am:

    Rob N,

    “questions”? LOL!

  98. - Publia - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 10:51 am:

    You bring up a very important point. This is a very new technology and the military needs to make specific rules. Is this really Mark or is it his campaign tweeting? Does that matter? How does this apply to other reservists who work on campaigns but are not office holders? We are lucky this issue has come up so early in the election season. It is time for some bright-line guidance by the military.

  99. - JVL24 - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 11:13 am:

    As an active duty Army officer from Illinois, currently deployed to Iraq, finding this debate quite humorous -
    FYI- we can’t tweet from work - Twitter and Facebook are not accessible on military networks.
    I hadn’t heard of Mark Kirk previously, but thanks for highlighting him, happy to see an IL politician serving in the military.

  100. - Anonymous - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 1:15 pm:

    This is a very new technology and the military needs to make specific rules. Is this really Mark or is it his campaign tweeting?


    Based on Rich’s discussion with the Pentagon and even some of the discussion–and results of preliminary research by bloggers–on this thread, it seems that the Policy and Directive(s) are not explicit and therefore probably require some interpretation and clarification.

    Furthermore, there even seem to be questions as to the applicability of certain Directives to Reservists.

    As 10th Indy mentioned earlier, staff are probably all over this one to make sure that everyone’s working well within stated restrictions.

  101. - Rob_N - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 1:28 pm:

    Publia says, “It is time for some bright-line guidance by the military.”

    Rich posted those bright lines — essentially they say don’t campaign while on active duty.

    The campaign says (after the fact) that the two posts were pre-approved before Kirk went on duty and that a campaign staffer posted them for Kirk while he was on duty.

    But, using the first person to make sound as if it’s Kirk posting is what put him in this situation. If they’d been honest and started the tweets with some sort of identifier indicating it was a campaign staffer this wouldn’t be an issue at all.

    As it is, the campaign tried to pull the wool over voters’ eyes by tweeting as if the staffer was Kirk himself (if their explanation is true).

    We would have never heard that explanation unless the candidate was questioned on it. And if their explanation is not true and Kirk actually did campaign while on active duty then the campaign is now covering for Kirk vis a vis his superior officers by putting the blame on themselves.

  102. - Anonymous - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 2:15 pm:

    The campaign says (after the fact) that the two posts were pre-approved before Kirk went on duty and that a campaign staffer posted them for Kirk while he was on duty.

    No. The Campaign’s statement says “…a staff member posts a preapproved tweet.”

    It does not state whether Kirk pre-approved the tweets, or whether another Staff member approved the Tweets.

    Furthermore, the approval (whether by another Staff member or Kirk himself) may have been to publish a Tweet that said “Kirk will be on duty for the next couple of days” or something to that effect. But, there might have been a misunderstanding as to when the Tweet should be published and/or whether it should be published as a generic announcement or to look as if Kirk sent it himself.

    As fact-based as most of us normally are on this blog, there are many unknowns that are leading to alot of speculation on this thread–beginning even with the application of the Policy and Directives that have been cited thus far during the discussion.

    I’m just saying that perhaps we ought to give them all a break, especially since we’re not even absolutely certain yet as to whether this did go against any applicable Directive(s).

  103. - phil - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 2:21 pm:

    The link most certainly is to her cite:

    But, check it out for yourself. Search for her website then go to the contacts section. Its much easier than searching DOD policies, I assure you.

    And I saw it on the Team America site–so it wasn’t just my buzz.

  104. - Anonymous - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 9:41 pm:

    (How unforgiveably rude of me. The best I can offer is that the controversy over this issue has thrown me into a bit of a tailspin.)

    Thank you for serving, JVL24, GWOT Vet–and to everyone else on this blog who has worn a uniform to defend this great Country.

    How glad I am that you could join us in this discussion–which I realize is possible, in great part, due to amazing men and women like you!

    Thank you for all you do for us and our little ones!!!

  105. - Rob_N - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 10:46 pm:

    Anon 2:15,

    You’ve completely misunderstood and, by way of excuse-making, completely misrepresented what I wrote.

    Let me break it down for you.


    I originally wrote:

    “The campaign says (after the fact) that the two posts were pre-approved before Kirk went on duty and that a campaign staffer posted them for Kirk while he was on duty.


    That was based on two points Rich very clearly wrote in his original post:

    “Kirk is a Naval Reservist, and he appeared to be on duty when those posts were made, and his Twitter site is clearly a campaign site”


    “I [Rich Miller] had asked the Kirk campaign for comment around the same time, and eventually received this e-mail, which I then forwarded to the Pentagon…

    “Congressman Kirk did not post while on duty. In situations when he is unable to use Twitter, (i.e. while on reserve duty) a staff member posts a preapproved tweet.””

    In other words, the Kirk campaign said that the two posts were preapproved, but they didn’t say they were such until after the posts were published and after the campaign was asked about them… that’s what I meant by what I wrote.

    I’m not sure how you could’ve misunderstood that, but you did.

    And, if you look at my very first post on this topic, I essentially make the same point but took it one step further: If campaign staffers are going to be posting for candidate Kirk while he is on active duty they ought to very clearly specify that it is a campaign staffer posting in Kirk’s place instead of writing it as if it were Kirk himself.

    As it is now, this bout of carelessness has Navy Reservist Kirk under a Pentagon investigation. (And yes, clearly Dems are making careless campaign mistakes too — see Rich’s post re Hamos’ contact webpage.)

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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