By Nick Schwellenbach
The new Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee are seeking help with their political defenses from lobbyists and companies such as Lockheed Martin Corp., the Boeing Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp.
The 13 freshmen, who call themselves the “Lucky 13,” are being featured at a Washington fundraiser on Feb. 15, the day after President Barack Obama releases his fiscal 2012 budget.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Jan. 6 said the budget will propose cutbacks in weapons and support contracts, part of a reduction of $78 billion over five years. The fundraiser gives the military contracting community a chance to make their case, backed by campaign donations.
The “Lucky 13” are Republican Reps. Vicky Hartzler (MO), Scott Palazzo (MS), Austin Scott (GA), Jon Runyan (NJ), Mo Brooks (AL), Chris Gibson (NY), Tim Griffin (AR), Joe Heck (NV), Scott Rigell (VA), Martha Roby (AL), Bobby Schilling (IL), Allen West (FL) and Todd Young (IN).
The “special guest” at the fundraiser is House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA). McKeon has been a major beneficiary of defense contractor campaign contributions since first becoming the Committee’s ranking member and later its chairman. The fundraiser will be held at the restaurant Acadiana. Tiron noted:
McKeon’s “21st Century PAC,” a political action committee, sent the invitations on behalf of the “Lucky 13 Joint Fundraising Committee,” founded by the campaigns of the new members.
What’s expected of the potential fundraiser attendees?
The McKeon dinner invitation, sent to the defense companies and other potential donors, suggests a contribution of $5,000 minimum for the Lucky 13 Joint Fundraising Committee, or $5,000 to a combination of each members’ individual campaigns.
Nick Schwellenbach is POGO’s Director of Investigations.