Kirk Acknowledges Earlier Instance of Embellishing His Military Service

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Illinois Senate hopeful Mark Kirk (R) has acknowledged, though not fully explained or apologized for, a years-old error on his official congressional bio page, which suggested that he served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, when in fact he had not.

“Kirk’s 2005 campaign Web site noted this correctly,” Kirk’s team emailed the Washington Post. “Unfortunately, the official Web site listed the word “in” instead of “during” but was corrected in 2005.”The error was part and parcel of a greater pattern Kirk has of embellishing–though usually not outright lying–about his military service. And it was corrected only after a blogger, and Afghanistan veteran, named Terry Welch brought it to the attention of Kirk’s congressional office.

Kirk has repeatedly claimed–on his congressional website, in public appearances, and even in a campaign web ad–that he was named Intelligence Officer of the Year by the U.S. Navy when he was not. Kirk’s camp insists they spotted the error and fixed it, but the facts suggest the Navy tipped them off to it.

Kirk’s campaign did not respond to my inquiries. Thusfar–perhaps because of the holiday weekend, and congressional recess–he’s avoided the intense scrutiny that dogged Connecticut Senate hopeful Dick Blumenthal (D) after a similar flap. But the examples keep building.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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