6:26 PM | Posted in ,
Back in April, I noticed something that I found somewhat unusual. A contributor to True North and his own political blog, Foreign and Domestic, was using an official military email address to post to those sites.

I took some screen shots and wrote about whether or not this was an appropriate use of an official army email address. Since that time I had almost forgotten about the issue and given that no one really seemed all that concerned, I let it go. However, in the last couple of weeks this same blogger along with the new Brodkorb free team at Minnesota Democrats Exposed has begun going after Congressman Tim Walz and questioning his military record.

Not being a veteran myself, I will leave it to others who are veterans to defend the military record of Mr. Walz. What I would like to know, though, is how someone who is active in the military can legally utilize an official @us.army.mil email address to post partisan political commentary about the Commander-in-Chief as well as members of Congress? Is this not a misuse of military resources?

I went directly to the source, Mr. Thul, but he doesn't seem very eager to address my questions about the proper and improper use of military email. Mr. Thul tried to pin this back on myself for not addressing his post but as I told him, my inquiry into the use of military email resources dates all the way back to April of this year so his argument that it is just a way to avoid addressing his particular issue doesn't hold much water. You can click on the image to the left or click on the above link to see that Mr. Thul has yet to answer any of my questions.

After going to the source, I took to the internet to see if I could find some official statement by the military on the proper and improper use of military email. While I did not find exactly what I was looking for and would love to hear from people within the military as to whether this is an issue or if it is acceptable, I did find a couple of interesting references:

First, from the DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY I found a pdf regarding the use of email. From page 6 of that pdf I found this:

It clearly states that use "official email systems" for "political transmissions that advocate the election of a particular candidate" NOT permitted. Isn't Mr. Thul using his email for exactly the purpose which this document forbids? Now, this is a document that I found from Fort Hood so I suppose there is a chance that this regulation applies specifically to that base. Yet, it seems likely that these or similar regulations apply across the army establishment.

The other document I found from the Federal Voting Assistance Program site. The pdf (DoD Directive 1344.10) on this page outlines the dos and don'ts of political activity for members of the armed forces. Allow or cause to be published partisan political articles, letters, or endorsements signed or written by the member that solicits votes for or against a partisan political party, candidate, or cause. This is distinguished from a letter to the editor as permitted under the conditions noted in subparagraph

If Mr. Thul is on active duty and utilizing his military email account to "publish partisan political articles", is he violating these regulations?

As I said months ago, I respect the right of Mr. Thul to believe the things that he believes despite disagreeing vehemently with them. He has every right to write and express his opinion. What I want to know is whether or not he should be expressing these opinions through an email address provided to him by the military.

Given the tactics currently being used by Mr. Thul, would it be appropriate for myself or someone else to go to the Steele County Republican Party offices in order to get some answers. Or, perhaps if we went over to the place at which Mr. Thul is stationed to inquire about the proper use of military email.
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