- Associated Press - Monday, October 27, 2014

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Republican U.S. House candidate Ryan Zinke produced a military record Monday that opponents have been calling for since this summer.

The 1999 report gives Zinke declining marks in two areas for lapses of judgment, and says Zinke’s performance greatly exceeded standards in four other areas.

The report says the lapses were related to two travel reimbursement issues, but doesn’t provide further detail.

The former Navy SEAL previously said one involved a $211 plane ticket to Montana for which he was reimbursed but then paid back. Last week, Zinke said the travel discrepancy arose from a seven-year audit of his travel expenses in 1999 after someone complained about his travel to Montana to scout for SEAL training locations. Zinke campaign spokeswoman Shelby DeMars said the other dispute involved Zinke traveling from training in Washington state to his Whitefish home and it didn’t require reimbursement.

The officer who wrote the report also said he was confident Zinke understood his responsibility in setting an example.

Zinke showed members of the media documents that gave him glowing reviews in August and said those were all the military records in his possession.

Democrats had requested Zinke’s entire military personnel file, but many of the records they received were heavily redacted.

“The missions of SEAL Team 6 were the foundation of Zinke’s house of cards, including the creation of a super PAC and two runs for stateside office,” said Montana Democratic Party spokesman Bryan Watt. “Only after months of public pressure was Zinke fully willing to come clean with the people of Montana - despite months of lying to the public about blemishes on his service record. The fact is, Zinke was pushed out of SEAL Team 6 for lapses in judgment and he’s trying to cover that up.”

Zinke has insisted his records only show a commendable military career, and he’s shown in documents he was promoted after the report showing the travel disputes.

“Ryan’s record shows that his service to our country has been consistently exemplary,” said DeMars. “The attempts by the Lewis campaign to attack Ryan’s military service are not only a pathetic attempt to distract from Lewis’ lifetime as a D.C. insider, but an affront to all those who have served our nation.”

Zinke requested copies of his full military record Sept. 1 and received full copies of all the fitness reports Monday. Zinke’s campaign is expecting to receive and release the remainder of the records midweek, DeMars said.

“We are excited to have finally received the fitness reports for Ryan and look forward to releasing more records as we receive them,” said DeMars. “Ryan has an astounding record of selfless service and leadership - we are proud to share his story of dedicated service with Montanans.”

Zinke, a former state senator, faces Democrat John Lewis, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, and Libertarian Mike Fellows in the Nov. 4 election for Montana’s lone House seat.


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