Reports that President Barack Obama will tap former Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican who had as many arguments with his own party as he did with Democrats, for the top job at the Pentagon has led some special interests to launch an ad campaign against him. But for former aides to the Cornhusker senator working for clients in the defense industry, Hagel winning the top job in the military means having a friend in a high place.
Lobbyists who once worked for the Nebraska lawmaker represent a host of companies that do business with the Department of Defense. Their clients ...Continue reading
Hidden Money + Advocacy = Doubt
The involvement of several non-profit advocacy groups in the debate over the Air Force's $40 billion air-refueling tanker contract highlights how important transparency is for not just the government, but also for those that ask us to trust their opinions of it. (Quick synopsis of the controversy: Boeing won the contract in 2003, then it was suspended after an Air Force staffer was successfully prosecuted for corruption related to the deal, then Northrop Grumman and European Aeronautic Defence and Space won the contract and now Boeing is contesting that.) One of the groups, Citizens Against Government Waste, has been recruiting others to join their support of the Northop contract, which they see as a better value for taxpayers. An opposing set groups, including Frontiers of Freedom and the Center for Security Policy, are backing Boeing on the grounds of keeping major arms contracts within the U.S. The problem for the Washington Post reporters covering the story was that, after some digging, they found that several of the groups had taken funding from either Boeing or Northop and were collaborating with the companies on their advocacy efforts. The cynicism this practice caused was palpable in the piece:Continue reading