Sunrise (2/14/11)

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PENTAGON PLEDGES ALLEGIANCE TO MILITARY CONTRACTORS

New York Times: “At the Cowen & Company military industry investment conference on Wednesday, the breakfast speaker was a man named Ashton B. Carter. A former academic and industry consultant, Dr. Carter, as he likes to call himself — he has a doctorate in theoretical physics, in case you were wondering — is the Defense Department’s under secretary for acquisitions, technology and logistics. That is, he’s the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer. … If you’re wondering what high-ranking Pentagon officials were doing at an investment conference, well, suffice to say that this was not a question on the minds of the people in this room. They’ve gotten used to it. For the last few months, beginning with a secret meeting last October, Defense Department officials have been making the rounds of analysts and investors. … Their main message, to put it bluntly, is that even in an era of tighter budgets, the Pentagon is going to make sure the military industry remains profitable. “Taxpayers and shareholders are aligned,” Mr. Carter intoned on Wednesday. Then he laid out a series of reforms that he said would both increase competition and maintain, as he put it, “profitability over the long term” — a phrase he repeated for emphasis. … Not being an industry insider, however, I found myself a little taken aback by Mr. Carter’s “guidance.” Monopsony or not, why should the Pentagon be talking up the stocks, even implicitly, of the companies it buys from? Why was Mr. Carter going out of his way to talk to investors and analysts? Didn’t he have more important things to do? … The answer, I eventually learned, has to do with something that happened a very long time ago, and goes under the category of “Be careful what you wish for.” Let’s just say that banking isn’t the only industry where the government has allowed a handful of companies to become too big to fail.”

GOP AND ETHICS

Roll Call: “Speaker John Boehner seems intent on avoiding a repeat of history when it comes House Republicans and ethics. … Only a couple of hours had passed Wednesday after the website Gawker posted a story about married Rep. Chris Lee soliciting a date on Craigslist when the New York Republican abruptly announced his resignation. Lee, a two-term Member, had posted a revealing picture of himself on Craigslist and, according to Gawker, sent a series of e-mails to the woman. … The Ohio Republican didn’t admit to having a hand in Lee’s departure, but GOP sources say the new Speaker has shown little patience for ethical lapses and scandals.”

FINANCE REVOLVING DOOR

Deal Book: “Joseph Jiampietro, one of the government’s top deal makers during the financial crisis, has joined Goldman Sachs as a senior investment banker covering the financial services industry. … Mr. Jiampietro was previously a senior adviser to Sheila C. Bair, the chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, during the throes of the financial crisis, where he helped coordinate more than 100 government-assisted bank deals.”

FIRST ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON TRANSPARENCY EVENT

Sunlight: “Today, the Advisory Committee on Transparency will host a panel discussion entitled Reforming Congress: The good, the bad, and the ugly. Our panel of experts will examine the history of efforts to reform Congress; evaluate which aspects of the institution function effectively – and not so effectively – and why; and explain what can be done to help Congress fulfill its constitutional responsibilities.”

FUNDRAISING PARTIES TODAY

–Rep. Jon Runyan hosts a fundraiser at the offices of BGR Group, a major lobbying firm in DC.

–Rep. Mike Michaud is offering a “Made in Maine Chocolate Treat” at his Valentine’s Day fundraiser.

–Rep. Joe Pitts holds a fundraiser at the Capitol Hill Club Grille.

–Rep. Connie Mack is holding a fundraiser at the Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar with his wife, Rep. Mary Bono Mack, acting as the special guest.

–Rep. Ed Whitfields hosts a fundraiser at the Capital Grille.

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