Ryan Zinke Cover Up Continues: Hiding Military Records By Mud-Slinging

 Ryan Zinke Cover Up Continues: Hiding Military Records By Mud-Slinging
Zinke Mum on Missing 1999 fitness report Documenting his Departure from SEAL Team 6

(Helena, MT) - Former Super PAC chairman Ryan Zinke continues to cover up a 1999 fitness report, the Navy’s version of an employee performance evaluation, that one of his former SEAL commander’s claims is a blemish on his record. Zinke formed a super PAC that is now benefitting his campaign based solely on being a former Navy SEAL. Instead of highlighting his legislative record, his campaign has been almost completely focused on a military record that is hidden from the public.
Zinke released heavily redacted versions of many other fitness reports he had during his time in the Navy, but he has skipped over the allegedly damaging report.   Zinke claims to have requested his record but he has yet to release it to the Montana voters.
Montana’s newspapers are taking note of Zinke’s lack of transparency.
The Great Falls Tribune reported, “Zinke's campaign said he requested the complete file from the Navy in early September, but so far the documents have not arrived… Zinke's campaign denied the allegations, but in doing so referenced a military record that is thus far largely unavailable for public inspection”
In another report, the Helena Independent Record wrote, “A Navy customer service agent initially told the State Bureau Wednesday she couldn’t find a request for the records from Zinke and later said it was “a controlled record.” Asked what that was, she referred the inquiry to the records department, which was closed for the day.”
“Ryan Zinke is trying to run out the clock and hide a blemish on the Navy career he has staked his campaign on.  Montanan’s deserve to know why Ryan Zinke was removed from command of SEAL team six,” said Bryan Watt, a Montana Democratic Party spokesperson.  “The lack of transparency from Zinke is disturbing to Montana voters and he can put this all to bed by releasing his full military record.”
On August 11, the Montana Democratic Party outlined the process for Zinke to request his entire Navy record, but 73 days have passed and Montana voters have not seen the 1999 fitness report.  Senator John Walsh released his entire military record, nearly 400 pages, to Montana voters but Zinke has only released 41 pages.  
While Zinke continues to violate Department of Defense guidelines on using military insignia for political gain, he is blaming the Lewis campaign for questions asked by members of his own party and the press. Lewis was abundantly clear in the Great Falls Debate that Zinke’s decision whether to release his military records are up to him. Zinke lied about running a clean campaign and is now resorted to mudslinging to further cover up his failure to be transparent.

  • Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Alliance, was the first person to bring this information to Montana. He forwarded Larry Bailey's letter to a huge listserv the night before the primary election.
  • Ken Miller also sent a similar statement to Montanans.
  • Captain Larry Bailey has done interviews and continued to say in the press that he believes Zinke is actively hiding records because they are, contrary to Zinke’s statements, less than “brilliant.” 

This blog post does an accurate assessment of where the questions about whether Zinke is being disingenuous about his service came from. The answer is: Republicans in Montana:

Timeline of Zinke’s Military Records Request: 
  • August 9th: Zinke releases cherry-picked Navy Records leaving out the 1999 fitness report in question.
  • August 11th: The Montana Democratic Party calls on Zinke to release his entire military record and shows the process requesting it.
  • August 14th: In MTN interview, Ryan Zinke promises to release his full military record
  • October 21st: In a Great Falls Debate, Zinke is asked directly about the missing 1999 fitness report, he calls the panelist’s question  “shameless”
  • October 23rd: Zinke continues to refuse to release full military records. 

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