POGO STAFF REPORT
The former Lockheed executive and lobbyist who Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) appointed to a key role overseeing the defense industry took the job only temporarily, a spokesman for McCain said.
The Project On Government Oversight reported Thursday that McCain, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, hired former Lockheed vice president Ann Elise Sauer to head the committee’s Republican staff. As POGO noted, the committee oversees military spending, including major weapons systems that are central to Lockheed’s business.
In a financial disclosure form, Sauer listed almost $1.7 million of compensation from Lockheed during a reporting period spanning 2011 and early 2012.
In a statement to POGO after Thursday’s article was posted, McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said Sauer took early retirement from Lockheed in January 2011, which accounted for part of her compensation.
McCain “made an unsolicited offer of employment” to Sauer in February 2012, Rogers said.
Sauer “accepted the offer on a stop-gap, temporary one-year basis,” he said.
“Senator McCain is very proud of Ms. Sauer’s long, distinguished career working on a range of important defense issues both in Congress and in the private sector,” Rogers said.
Sauer “is completely divested from all Lockheed Martin-related investments and has no financial interest in the defense industry, in keeping with Senate Ethics Committee guidelines,” he said.
Rogers declined to say whether Sauer would recuse herself from any matters affecting Lockheed. The company is responsible for some of the nation’s most costly and troubled weapons systems and receives billions of dollars annually from the Department of Defense.
McCain’s spokesman also declined to say how Sauer’s appointment squares with McCain’s past concern about the revolving door between industry and government -– a theme McCain addressed in a December speech.
“To be clear, the military-industrial-congressional complex does not cause [weapons] programs to fail,” McCain said in the speech. “But, it does help create poorly-conceived programs -- programs that are so fundamentally unsound that they are doomed to be poorly executed. And, it does help keep them alive -- long after they should have been ended or restructured.”