March 2, 2012

Analysis: DC Lobbyists, Military Contractors Donating To Congressman Buck McKeon’s Wife Are New To California State Politics

Congressman Buck McKeon's wife Patricia is running for State Assembly in California. Her bid for office is backed by generous donations from military contractors, many of whom maintain ties to Buck McKeon.

Last month, we broke the story about military industry money pouring into the campaign coffers of Patricia McKeon, the wife of Buck McKeon (R-CA), the powerful congressman who serves as chairman of the Armed Services Committee. The McKeons have largely ducked questions about this unusual arrangement. The congressman even fled from Republic Report’s Zaid Jilani when askedabout the donations.

For many observers, the military industry lobbyists funneling cash to Patricia’s campaign for California state legislature appear to be doing so in a bid to influence Buck McKeon, who has wide say over how the nation’s taxpayer dollars are spent in the defense budget. However, Patricia’s allies are claiming that the military industry cash is simply a local concern, since the aerospace industry has facilities near the Santa Clarita district where Patricia is running. In a letter to the editor, one Patricia supporter says the defense industry cash proves that her candidate is “pro-jobs and economic growth.”

Republic Report looked into the claim that Patricia’s defense industry contributors are simply local businesses, and found a startling pattern. Many of her defense lobbyist benefactors are first time California donors, while others appear to be reviving their California accounts only to help Patricia:

The lobbying firm Beau Boulter, which represents drone manufacturers, gave Patricia McKeon $1,000. This is the first donation the firm has made in California.

Joseph Kimmett, a government affairs executive with the defense contractor OshKosh, gave Patricia McKeon $500. OshKosh has no other recorded donations in California state politics.

Cliff Madison Government Affairs, a lobbying firm in DC, gave $1,000 to Patricia McKeon. The firm has no other recorded donations in California state politics.

The Fund for American Opportunity, a 527 political group run by Mark Valente, a lobbyist with defense contractor clients, gave $1,000 to Patricia McKeon. The Fund for American Opportunity has not given to any other California state politicians in recently years.

Lockheed Martin gave Patricia McKeon $1,000. The donation was the only donation from the company to a California state legislature candidate in over a decade.