Last week, news that U.S. Air Force servicemembers were prohibited from attending a Turning Point rally near their base prompted calls for an investigation. Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) recently wrote to Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall demanding to know who made the initial prohibition and how they will prevent a similar situation from occurring again.
To reiterate, Turning Point Action held a "Dakota Patriot Rally" in Minot, North Dakota. An Air Force base is nearby, and servicemembers received a text warning them not to attend the rally, saying Turning Point and the event speaker, Tyler Bowyer, were "alt-right." More egregiously, the text said attendance at the rally would "jeopardize their continued service in the US military."
In his press release, Rep. Gaetz highlighted the "brazen partisan nature of these messages and the attempt to suppress constitutionally protected freedoms of speech and assembly."
Additionally, the letter pointed out that the rally was held outside of federal property and when servicemembers were off-duty, meaning they would be permitted to go per their own rules.
"You are obligated to intervene, as this series of actions demonstrates a clear misapplication of the Hatch Act, which states members on active duty should not engage in political activities while in uniform to avoid creating the appearance that their political activities imply official Department of Defense (DoD) sponsorship, approval or endorsement of a candidate, campaign or cause," Rep. Gaetz warned Secretary Kendall, adding that this incident further showed the military becoming politicized.
As a result, Gaetz demanded to know who specifically sent out the text message warning servicemembers not to attend the Dakota Patriot Rally, and where Air Force policy states that members cannot attend political events out of uniform. Moreover, he asked why a Turning Point rally could "jeopardize [a member's] continued service in the US military" and how the Air Force will prevent future incidences.
The same week of the Turning Point rally, Representative Mike Waltz (R-FL) demanded an investigation after a leaked glossary for the National Security Agency (NSA) contained heavily politicized definitions and usage of left-wing talking points.