Thursday 3 September 2015

"The 10 Worst Things about Lockheed Martin's Alleged Lobbying Fraud"

Quote: "Last week, Lockheed Martin paid the Justice Department $4.7 million to settle charges it fraudulently paid a lobbyist with illegally-used taxpayer funds. It paid the lobbyist, a revolving door former U.S. Representative, to help it get it a giant, no-bid, $2.4 billion-a-year contract to run giant national labs for many years to come. Lockheed’s astonishingly corrupt influence peddling, with illegal taxpayer funds, has so many sleazy aspects that only the ten worst can be briefly covered.

1. Scale. As I covered in a piece earlier this month, Lockheed is not merely the biggest defense contractor in the world, it has a “chokehold” on the nation’s defense funding. This is a $2.4 billion contract for Sandia to run major parts of the government’s nuclear weapons complex in Albuquerque and Livermore, which were under Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Even by Lockheed standards, it is huge.

2. Illegal. It is blatantly illegal to lobby with taxpayer funds. In fact, there is a special statutory provision, the *Byrd Amendment, 31 USC section 1352, specifically making this illegal. This was not just any old contract. This was cost-plus, so Lockheed billed the Treasury for the pay-offs to the influence peddlers. This was found by a very solid Department of Energy Inspector General (DoE-IG) investigation.

3. Anti-competitive. It is an outrage that so important and huge a contract does not get competed. The last competition, when Lockheed’s subsidiary, Sandia Corp., got a competitive award, was over twenty years ago, in 1993. Since then – no bidding. Lockheed may keep this plum contract – noncompetitively – to 2017. (To be fair, the Department of Energy may have been too slow to get competition organized.)

4. $10,000 a month — undocumented. That is what they paid the “most corrupt” ex-Representative (see below). Sandia/Lockheed know all their cost-plus reimbursements require detail. But obviously neither they nor the ex-Representative would want to document on paper about this influence-peddling.

5. Fraud. The law-breaker here, Lockheed’s subsidiary Sandia Corp (which runs the labs), took the bills for its illegal lobbying and had submitted them for reimbursement from the Treasury. This was fraud. That is why the Justice Department settlement said “Sandia has agreed to pay $4,790,042 to resolve allegations that Sandia violated the Byrd Amendment and the False Claims Act.”

6. Internal legal warning. The DoE-IG report noted that in 2004, in the context of a possible competition (not held) the internal “Legal Counsel warned that ‘Neither Sandia nor [the DoE] could tolerate even the suspicion that Sandia was assisting in the competition at prime context expense.’” So this was done in the teeth of strong legal warning. (By the way, in this settlement, the Justice Department lets Lockheed say it had not admitted guilt.)

7. Revolving door. The top illegal lobbyist was former Rep. Heather Wilson of New Mexico. For a number of years, as Representative, she presumably was very friendly with Lockheed/Sandia of her area. It seems possible from press accounts that on day one when she left office, they rewarded her by starting a $10,000/month lobbying deal.

8.“Most corrupt.” Those with a Washington memory recall that Heather Wilson was named one of the “Most Corrupt Members of Congress” by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington an ethics group led by Melanie Sloan.

9. Attorneys Scandal. Heather Wilson won national fame – or infamy — during the 2007 investigation into whether the Bush White House – especially Karl Rove – got rid of 7 U.S. Attorneys for political motivations. She had been a board member for Karl Rove’s “American Crossroads.” One of the 7 was New Mexico federal prosecutor David Iglesias. Iglesias was indeed booted. This whole scandal caused a national wave of disgust at raw political interference with the course of justice.

10. Wilson’s incredible denials. In particular, Rove himself named Wilson as asking Rove to get rid of. Prosecutor Iglesias. And, Iglesias says Wilson pressured him directly to prosecute someone of the other party. And her explanation? She denies doing anything but asking for an update, just as she denies wrongdoing in this current illegal lobbying scandal. Yeah." Go to:

*Is that the Admiral Richard E?

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