Wednesday, October 10, 2012

CNN Report On Buck McKeon's Latest Scandal Set Up Today's Debate, An Unmitigated Disaster For Him


Since Buck McKeon has become chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, General Dynamics has given Buck McKeon $56,000 in legalistic bribes and he's repaid them-- with tax payer dollars-- very, very, very handsomely. McKeon's corruption and his use of his perch atop the House Armed Services Committee to finance his political career was the subject of a CNN report Tuesday night (above).

The report is set at a huge tank parking lot where General Dynamics would like to refurbish them for huge profits for themselves. But the Army doesn't want to refurbished tanks. Buck McKeon, who takes huge amounts of money from General Dynamics, wants them to take the tanks anyway.

The U.S. has more than enough combat tanks in the field to meet the nation's defense needs-- so there's no sense in making repairs to these now, the Army's chief of staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno told Congress earlier this year.

If the Pentagon holds off repairing, refurbishing or making new tanks for three years until new technologies are developed, the Army says it can save taxpayers as much as $3 billion.

That may seem like a lot of money, but it's a tiny sacrifice for a Defense Department that will cut $500 billion from its budget over the next decade and may be forced to cut a further $500 billion if a deficit cutting deal is not reached by Congress.

...[F]rom its point of view the Army would prefer to decide what it needs and doesn't need to keep America strong while making tough economic cuts elsewhere.

"When a relatively conservative institution like the U.S. military, which doesn't like to take risks because risks get people killed, says it has enough tanks, I think generally civilians should be inclined to believe them," said Travis Sharp a fellow at the defense think tank, New American Security.

But guess which group of civilians isn't inclined to agree with the generals on this point?

And, to be more specific, the House Arms Services Committee and it's extremely corrupt, bribe-besotted chairman, Buck McKeon. During the current election cycle, McKeon has taken more money from arms manufacturers and war contractors-- basically what Dwight Eisenhower warned us about in his Military-Industrial Complex speech in 1961 when McKeon was 23 years old-- than any other Member of Congress-- both Houses. In fact, McKeon took more money from the war industry than any two Members of Congress. So far McKeon's share of the bribery this cycle has been $481,850-- and that doesn't count the money he illegally coerced the arms manufacturers into donating to his wife's ridiculous and failed run for the California state Assembly. The second largest chunk of Military-Industrial Complex bribes went to Senator Scott Brown (R-MA)-- and it was less than half what McKeon got, $201,900.

The 5 biggest bribers of Congress in the war-making industry are Northrop Grumman ($2,331,432 this cycle), Lockheed Martin ($2,320,620 this cycle), Boeing ($2,106,438 this cycle), Raytheon ($1,788,589 this cycle), and General Dynamics ($1,329,052 this cycle). Here's what each gave McKeon so far this cycle (again not counting what he forced them to give his wife, money that went directly into his household and were illegal solicited):

Northrop Grumman- $10,000
Lockheed Martin- $10,000
Boeing- $10,000
Raytheon- $10,000
General Dynamics- $10,000

The legal maximum is $10,000 from a PAC to a federal candidate. But... Buck also has a "leadership PAC," the 21st Century PAC, which is another way arms makers can funnel bribes to him. For example, aside from the $10,000 Northrop Grumman's regular PAC gave McKeon and aside from the other $6,000 Northrop Grumman's Shipbuilding PAC gave McKeon, the two PACs also gave the 21st Century PAC $18,000. So, all told, they gave him $34,000. And this doesn't count the thousands of dollars McKeon gets directly from company executives and board members.

So far this cycle McKeon's 21st Century PAC has scooped up $479,213, money he spreads around to other Republicans so that he can maintain his status inside the House GOP caucus. Aside from the $5,000 his PAC gave Romney, the biggest recipients of his largess have been Boehner ($5,000), Jeff Denham ($5,000), Jesse Kelly ($5,000), Tom Latham ($5,000), Abel Maldonado ($7,000), Matt Salmon ($5,000), Tony Strickland ($10,000), and Allen West, who made a trip to McKeon's district to campaign for him ($5,000).

So who gave to McKeon's PAC? People he puts the squeeze on-- despite his protestations in the CNN interview that he doesn't know who gives him cash (a ridiculous, bold-faced lie). Here are some of the big donors this year:

It's almost exclusively money from special interests with business-- BIG BUSINESS-- in front of McKeon's committee. The money comes in year after year from corporations who are getting billions of dollars in taxpayer money controlled by McKeon. It has a lot to do with why even conservative Republican groups are sick and tired of him and why he's been named to the Hall of Shame by the right-wing GOP think tank, the Madison Project, which says that "in his 19 years in the House, McKeon has been a consistent vote for big government and spending. In 2011, he voted for all the debt and spending bills and against the RSC budgets and spending cuts... his record on fiscal issues is terrible."

So this set the table for today's one and only debate between McKeon and Lee Rogers. (McKeon insisted on a venue that charged $45 to hold down attendance, especially attendance from people impacted by his economic agenda.) Rogers absolutely creamed him-- left him curled up in a fetal position in a pool of his own blood on the floor. Even Republicans were dismayed by McKeon's feeble, incompetent performance.

Rogers controlled the debate from the moment it began and painted McKeon as a corrupt Washington insider who is on the dole for the armament industry. McKeon had his Todd Akin moment when during a discussion about sequestration Rogers pointed out that non-defense-related jobs will suffer greatly too, but there wasn't any unified lobby trying to protect them. McKeon said "It's my job to protect defense. It's not my job to look after the others." Rogers pounced in his closing statement saying that the other jobs are FAA, FCC, NWS, NOAA, and NASA. Rogers said that it was clear McKeon only cares about the defense jobs which as an industry gave him almost $1M. And Rogers closed with the death knell, "I'm not running to be the chair of the House Armed Services Committee, I'm running to be the representative for the 25th district-- the whole district."

He smartly framed the voters decision on November 6 into experience versus judgment. Rogers said that McKeon may have a lot of experience (but so did Bernie Madoff), but experience at what? Rogers, being a doctor, has the judgment necessary to put the constituents first and represent them in Congress. If you'd like to help replace McKeon with Rogers you can do that right here.

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At 10:34 PM, Blogger Rider said...

Uhh Howie, I don't know where you get your info, but I'm no Republican. I'm as blue as they come and excited for Rogers.

Thanks for the link to my blog though!

At 5:22 AM, Anonymous whitewidow said...

It's worth remembering that Ike originally wanted to use the term Military-Industrial-Congressional complex, but his speechwriters talked him out of it.


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