WASHINGTON -- With no evidence, the Illinois GOP Senate campaign of Rep. Mark Kirk accused the Obama White House of leaking information about Kirk's military record, a charge White House senior adviser David Axelrod said Thursday is not true.
"Obviously, Congressman Kirk has some problems that are of his creation and he can't download them on us," Axelrod told me. "I assure you that everyone here has plenty to do. No one is trafficking in revelatory records about him."
Kirk, a commander in the Navy Reserves, is at the low point of his Senate bid against Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, the state treasurer. Kirk is stung by revelations of a series of embellishments about his military career.
On Wednesday, a document from the Department of Defense about Kirk surfaced showing military officials expressed "concerns arising from his partisan political activities during his last two tours of active duty."
Because of the officials' concerns about his previous "partisan political activities," they required him to write out an "acknowledgement of limitations required for all candidates on active duty," which he did. The waiver was granted.The documents were first posted Wednesday by Terry Welch, an Army and Navy veteran who runs Nitpicker.blogspot.com.
Welch told me he did not get the document from anyone in the administration, a political operative, or anyone from the Giannoulias camp. "Someone got it from inside Kirk's camp and passed it on to me," Welch said.
I asked the White House for comment after the Kirk campaign -- facing another embarrassing story --pushed back with questions about how the document surfaced, right up to the Obama White House.
Kirk spokesman Kirsten Kukowski said on Wednesday, "This raises grave concerns and questions about who gained access to Kirk's confidential records. The document in question should be viewed for what it is -- a baseless political ploy by partisans bent on defending a U.S. Senate seat at any cost."
She also said in the statement that the Kirk campaign will file a Freedom of Information Act for all correspondence between "administration officials and Democratic campaigns or political operative regarding Mr. Kirk's personal military records."
However, the White House is not covered by any Freedom of Information Act, and no campaign committee is either. Kukowski said their main focus in a leak inquiry would be the Defense Department.
On Thursday, I asked the Kirk campaign if they had any more information to back up their leak accusation -- in the wake of the White House denial and Welch saying the leak came from inside the Kirk operation.
The statement sent over from Kirk's operation did not address the leak controversy. Here it is: Said Kukowski, "Congressman Kirk has served honorably for 21 years as a Navy Reserve intelligence officer.
The Fitness Report from his service in Afghanistan is documented proof that the congressman not only did nothing wrong -- he performed exceptionally in service to our country. In the end, Alexi Giannoulias cannot distract voters from his calls to raise taxes, increase spending and continue the failed policies that led our state into economic ruin."