More powerful than the killing machines they manufacture, Northrup Grumman has given more money to Buck McKeon, (R-CA), Chairman of the Committee on Armed Services than any other member in Congress. In March, 2011, in a tit for tat move, McKeon tapped vice-president and lobbyist for Northrup, Thomas MacKenzie, to oversee defense contracts. Grumman reportedly paid MacKenzie “$500,ooo a few weeks before he became, as per Lee Fang who broke the story, ‘a low-paid Congressional staffer shaping military policy.’” MacKenzie’s salary was about to take quite a hit, from $529,379 at Northrup to $120,000 as a member of the committee.
Fang writes at Republic Report:
“In Mackenzie’s case, Northrop Grumman made sure he had extra cash before he went to work writing policy on the defense budget. Republic Report views a recently filed ethics disclosure form and found that Northrup Grumman paid MacKenzie a $498.334 bonus in 2011, just before he went to work under McKeon as a committee staffer. The bonus was almost the size of MacKenzie’s annual salary at the firm, which was $529,379 in 2010. View a copy of the disclosure here.“
Senator Richard Blumenthal caught wind of Fang’s story and as per the National Journal and Connecticut Post, clearly found the timing suspect. He has demanded that Northrup Grummon, “explain to Congress and the American public why they paid one of their executives close to half a million dollars right before he was about to quit and start work as a member of the House Armed Services Committee.”
I have the answer to that one Senator Blumenthal. It’s probably for the same reason the defense industry donated over $22.6 million dollars to congressional candidates in 2009/10 and employs more than 1000 lobbyists, which works out to nearly 2 lobbyists for every member of congress. It’s probably for the same reason the defense industry spent $144 million for lobbying expenditures in 2010 and had “at least 682 revolving door employees in 2010, that would be people working in the government overseeing the arms industry then leaving government to work for a defense firm.”
It’s called influence Senator Blumenthal and irrespective of Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion that “independent expenditures do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption,” the expenditures, the money, does in fact control the game of who gets what, F-35’s or food, drones or health care, and Buck McKeon, Chairman of the Committee on Armed Services is one the main players.
Here’s the link to the petition to investigate Tom MacKenzie.
Live loud, love fierce, and suffer no fools, Katherine Manaan (MAWT)