A Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate was cited by the Army inspector general for improperly using his position in the National Guard for personal gain.
Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh is campaigning on his life of public service, especially his four years in the National Guard, when he led troops in Iraq as an adjutant general, according to KRTV.
“Prior to becoming lieutenant governor, I’ve served for 33 years in the Montana National Guard,” he told MTN News in a Dec. 16 interview. “So basically, my entire adult life has been involved with public service.”
However, a three-year-old inspector general’s report detailed three separate “substantiated allegations and conclusions” where Walsh “improperly endorsed a non-federal entity (NGAUS),” “used his government position for private gain” and “used government resources.”
The report accused him of bullying subordinates into joining a non-governmental group, the National Guard Association of the United States. He was running for vice chairman of the group at the time and wanted to increase membership by Montana National Guard members to increase his chances.
The report also accused Walsh of using government resources — his military email account — to browbeat others.
“I was disappointed to see that you have decided not to support the NGAUS especially after my previous memo outlining the significant contributions of NGAUS over the past several years,” Walsh wrote in one such email, according to KRTV. “I am concerned that as an officer and leader in our organization you do not support my priorities which is to improve the readiness of MTNG which NGAUS clearly does.”
The report said some of the emails “seemed coercive.” One subordinate testified that the fact that senior members of the command were talking about him in emails felt “very threatening,” according to the report.
Walsh also directed his executive assistant at the Guard to perform “administrative/travel duties” related to NGAUS, and use his official title and photograph in efforts on behalf of the group.
Walsh is running for the position being vacated by Sen. Max Baucus, recently appointed as ambassador to China. Senate confirmation is expected in the next few months.
“John Walsh has a distinguished 33-year career in the Montana National Guard including leading over 700 Montanans into Iraq,” Walsh spokesperson Lauren Smith said in a statement in response to KRTV’s request for comment. “He continues to put service before self and is exactly the kind of leader Montana needs in the U.S. Senate, including making standing up for Montana’s veterans and service men and women one of his top priorities.”
Read the full report here:
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