June 2nd, 2010
04:00 PM ET
4 years ago

Kirk continues to face allegations of dishonesty

Kirk continues to face allegations he has misrepresented his two decades of Navy service.
Kirk continues to face allegations he has misrepresented his two decades of Navy service.

Updated with Kirk Campaign response

(CNN) - When Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal admitted last month to making misstatements about his military service, it took at least a week for the Democratic Senate candidate to move past the story.

Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, who admitted over the weekend to falsely claiming he won the Navy Intelligence Officer of the Year Award, is now facing the same scrutiny. Kirk is the GOP nominee for the Senate seat held by President Barack Obama.

Kirk's acknowledgment about claiming he won the award for his service during the Kosovo conflict 10 years ago came after his Democratic opponent, Alexi Giannoulias, raised questions about it with The Washington Post. Kirk highlighted the claim on both his congressional and campaign websites, and CSPAN footage from 2002 shows the Republican himself stating as much.

Kirk said in a blog post Sunday that his unit was instead the recipient of the Rufus L. Taylor Intelligence Award, given by The National Military Intelligence Association, which is a professional group. Kirk characterized the mix-up as inadvertent and said it was a "disgrace" that Giannoulias was trying to make political hay out of it.

But over the past four days, Kirk has been barraged by a series of additional allegations of misstatements about his two decades of service in the Navy and a string of newspaper editorials that question his honesty.

In a Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Wednesday, the paper ticked through several other problematic Kirk claims that have since come to light, including a statement on a campaign web video that he "command[s] the war room of the Pentagon."

The Sun-Times noted that while Kirk does work weekends as a deputy intelligence director at the war room, the commander is ordinarily a one-star general. Though Kirk's campaign responded Wednesday that the Republican's post commands "the intelligence section of the alert center – the information 'war room.'"

The paper also said Kirk's congressional web site once touted the Republican's "combat service in Kosovo." However the paper says Kirk's unit did not serve in combat in Kosovo but was instead stationed in Aviano, Italy during the Allied-Force campaign. Kirk's campaign responded that the Republican did fly as an intelligence observer aboard an EC-130 special mission aircraft in support of air strikes over Belgrade and spent some time in Kosovo.

In addition, the Kirk campaign told the Post Wednesday that his congressional website incorrectly claimed he was "the only member of Congress to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom."

In fact, Kirk was stationed stateside during the Iraq War. The campaign told the Post it discovered the error in 2005, at which point the language was corrected from "in" to "during."

Meanwhile, Sun-Times correspondent Lynn Sweet reported Wednesday that Kirk was not upfront with how his office was first alerted to the mistaken award identification. Kirk told reporters the mischaracterization was discovered by a staff member review. However, a Navy official told the paper they alerted Kirk's office to the mistake after reporters started making inquiries about the matter. The Kirk campaign responded Wednesday the staff review was already under way when the Navy official informed the office about reporters' inquiries.

The Kirk campaign is strongly fighting back against allegations of dishonesty, circulating a statement to supporters Wednesday by Clay Fearnow - a retired Navy Captain and Kirk's commanding officer during Operation Allied Force.

"There are two things that have deeply troubled me...First, the idea that someone could make an honest mistake has become so foreign that the immediate assumption has become – you misrepresented or worse you lied. In Mark's case neither is factual," Fearnow said in the statement. "And second, that an honest mistake related to the identification of a military award is the same as pretending to be in Vietnam when you were not. This also doesn't apply to Mark Kirk."

"Mark Kirk is the finest intelligence officer I have ever served with – hands down," Fearnow also said.

It remains unclear what effect these reports will have on a Senate race that is already among the most bitterly-fought this cycle. Giannoulias is not without his own political baggage as the scion of banking family whose institution's failure last April cost the FDIC an estimated $394 million. Polls in Illinois conducted entirely before the Kirk allegations came to light showed the two candidates statistically tied.

Updated: 5:07 p.m.


Filed under: 2010 • Illinois • Mark Kirk
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    A Republican Liar? SAY IT AIN'T SO!!!!!

    June 2, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  2. Jeff Spangler

    Even in this city of master prevaricators, you cannot spin a repeated and deliberate misstatement of the whole truth into anything other than a lie, a falsehood, a crock of [excrement]!

    June 2, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. tombaisley

    It's called "stolen valor", the guy is a slimball

    June 2, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  4. Shucks

    Another politician lying? No, never. I would some day in my life like to meet just one politician who doesn't lie. I doubt it will ever happen.

    June 2, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  5. Dave

    Kirk's problems are not with the Democratic or independent voters. They are with the Republican party. He is considered a RINO. He is just not conservative enough for them. The right wing conservative portion of the Republican party has been looking for an issue to hang Kirk with since early in the primaries and they seem to have found it. Expect them to start a strong wisper campaign against this guy in the near future.

    June 2, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  6. Luke Brown

    Looks like this guy is a world-class liar. I guess it is better to know this BEFORE you elect someone than after they take office.

    I can't believe the guy is still holding on in the polls. It is Illinois after all.

    June 2, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  7. Malia Obama is smarter than Glen Beck...the child molester!

    this dufus republiklan Mark Kirk is lying so much, he can't even keep up with his dishonesty...one lie after the other!

    June 2, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  8. James M. Holmes

    Ummm... Mr. Kirk (and other lying politicians), you may want to try coming into the modern world.

    The military keeps records, anything can be researched on the internet, everything you have said is probably posted on YouTube, etc...

    You can't just LIE anymore, we will find out! So stop trying...

    June 2, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  9. Obama the liar

    liberal loons-just insert Bleumenthal

    June 2, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  10. doug

    Oh yeah honesty is a BIG issue in Chicago, lol!!!

    Democrats have dead people voting, threaten violence on those who don't conform to their wishes but this is the big stink.

    June 2, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. doug

    Now if instead of serving his country, he threw blood on troops returning home and spit on them, well then he would get full support of every Democrat in Obama-land.

    June 2, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  12. mrkusn

    Come on Kirk, just admit it: your dishonesty was not a misspelled word or misunderstanding. This was a deliberate attempt at self-promotion. I wonder how someone from the Intel community would be so "careless" with basic facts about himself unless the motive was a deliberate and self-focused scheme to make oneself bigger than they really are. Shame on you.

    June 2, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  13. GaryB

    In California we had a representative (also from the GOP) who often touted that he "flew fighter jets during Vietnam". While the statement was factually true, he did fly older fighter jets for the California national guard during the Vietnam War, it was misleading in that he never flew them outside of the United States. Funny thing is, his resume was impressive enough without the embellishment. I guess some politicians just can't help themselves. In any case, stretching the truth didn't hurt him; he still managed to get re-elected several times.

    June 2, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  14. Livin' the good life

    This guy sounds like he lives in a fantasy world. (of course, alot of people do and not just politicians!) It also goes along with the GOP idealogy of "say it enough times and it becomes the truth". We'll, there are still some very smart Americans left and it's a shame to see someone fall so far and still BELIEVE the lies they state. You can't ask the question, "what were you THINKING?, for as you can see, THEY TRULY WERE'NT! Let me see,... I guess I'll polish up my resume to state that I was once a congressman...OH wait, I was just a page...my mind is getting old but, maybe I can get away with it for 10 or so years before someone catches on ya' think?...Beau Colby

    June 2, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  15. LacrosseMom (the real one)

    ANOTHER........... GOPERS IN TROUBLE FOR LYING?

    PAY ATTENTION AMERICA!

    Vote NO in NOvember for the Party of NO!

    June 2, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. Victim of GOP Taliban

    wow and all the people in his photo that are buying his lies are the base of the GOP – all over 50 and the same race

    June 2, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  17. rs

    Another Republican, another day, another lie. I would say Dems are no better, but Republicans keep parading their false morality and false partiotism around like we're suppossed to believe them.

    June 2, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  18. Enough

    We have had it with these corrupt liars wanting to run our country....we deserve honest people who work for US and not the crap cramming through their own agendas. Any liar running for public office should get out now.

    June 2, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  19. Paul from Phoenix

    Instead of winning one tremendous award, he won another. Whoopee. Blumenthal falt out lied about even serving. BIG difference.

    June 2, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  20. Ram it

    I don't think it matters what you have done you can get elected in Connecticut. I am just glad I don't live there.

    June 2, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  21. Marty, FL

    What was that amendment again, Sen. Hatch? Jail time? Fines?
    Double standard...?

    Oh, that's right >> IOKIYAR. It's OK If You're A Republican.

    And Kirk continues to lie about it. At least Blumenthal took personal responsibility.

    June 2, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  22. maripil

    Kirk is an outright congenital liar as he continually lies to his own benefit!!

    June 2, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  23. Steph

    BUT pretending to be in Iraq is errily similar....

    June 2, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  24. Steph

    Sorry for the typo...they are eerily similar!

    June 2, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  25. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    What's to question?

    All Republicans are liars and hypocrites.

    Where's the big surprise here?

    June 2, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
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