May 10, 2012

Military Industry Lobbyists Manufacture Fake Tea Party Outrage Against Cutting Defense Pork

Cord Sterling, a lobbyist for a group representing defense contractors like Boeing and Lockheed Martin, speaks at a Tea Party-style event against cuts to wasteful defense spending.

Military industry lobbyists are using the Tea Party as props to fight back against defense cuts. Companies that benefit from tens of billions of taxpayer dollars, many of which are for unnecessary and wasteful programs, are attempting to co-opt political support as they desperately try to maintain their pork barrel contracts.

Take, for example, the “Coalition for the Common Defense,” an ad hoc project launched last fall to develop “grass-roots lobbying” to prevent “automatic budget cuts known as sequestration that will slash defense spending by as much as $600 billion over 10 years,” according to Roll Call.

The Coalition for the Common Defense has made a special effort manipulate the Tea Party to defend defense industry pork. The group claims that most Tea Party members agree with the arguments by defense contractors, that any defense cuts are dangerous for national security. The group has invited local Tea Party leaders to speak against the cuts, and lists a number of Tea Party organizations for outreach. The website even depicts pictures of Revolutionary War-era patriots throwing tea from ships in the Boston Harbor.

Republic Report took a look at who’s behind the campaign, and unsurprisingly, K Street lobbyists with weapons-maker clients and military industry companies are playing a pivotal role:

— Cord Sterling is the vice president for legislative affairs at the Aerospace Industry Association, a lobbying group that represents Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Honeywell, L-3 Communications, and other defense industry corporations. He has participated in events for the Coalition for the Common Defense, thanking the group for helping stave off the looming defense cuts. The Aerospace Industry Association spent $2,181,383 lobbying the federal government last year.

— The campaign is managed by the Center for Security Policy, a think tank that is governed by a board of directors with deep ties to the defense industry. Board member Lt. Col. Marlin L. Hefti (Ret.) is a vice president at Van Scoyoc Associates, a lobbying firm that represents over two dozen defense company clients, including Lockheed Martin and Humvee manufacturer, the Renco Group. Board members J.P. London and Bruce J. Brotman are executives with other defense companies.

Will the defense company lobbyists prevail? GOP leaders in Congress have offered bills to cancel all of the defense cuts and instead impose larger reductions for other parts of government.

We hope no Tea Party members will be fooled by the campaign. Despite the polling released by the Coalition for a Common Defense, many vocal Tea Party leaders have expressed support for reducing the size of military spending along with shrinking the entire government. It also seems doubtful that the original Boston Tea Party activists would support billion dollar contracts with Boeing with cost-overruns of over 177,000 percent for spare parts. The patriots of the American war for independence raged against the British crown for forcing colonists to bear the costs of the Seven Years War with the French. Why protect Boeing’s pork?

  • I’m a progressive Democrat and I think Paul Ryan is trying to kill America, but I think in some ways the ideals of the Tea Party and the progressives can agree. We progressives do not want smaller government when it comes to affordable healthcare for all or assistance to the poor, but the Tea Party should agree with us that a smaller government should include a smaller defense budget. This does not necessarily mean a smaller military, but rather should mean a very careful examination of all expenditures of defense budget money to eliminate unnecessary spending. Our country would be safer with cuts in defense spending that reduce our deficit and debt. We can find and eliminate waste on unnecessary new weapons programs like the Osprey that enrich defense contractors while saddling the government with more debt we cannot afford. I’m sure the experts could identify many further billions in the annual $700 billion defense budget that could be saved without compromising our national security. I would think the Tea Party would stand for fiscal responsibility and restraint of spending; these principles need to be applied to the defense budget, and homeland security and off the books defense spending to help us move toward economic security. I hope Tea Party supporters are wise enough to stop the greedy militarists from exploiting them to prop up their corrupt system.

    • Gammco

      I agree and believe that the defense budget could be halved and still remain the strongest military in the world.

  • Avaritia

    Uh, huh. The Teabaggers have been the most willful stooges and useful idiots to come along in a long, long time. Congratulations to the Kock Bros. on another job well done.

  • Looking for the facts

    Getting a defense budget certainly is offensive, even more offensive than the usual T-party fools.

  • More underhanded tactics from criminal lobbyists and it’s too bad that the Tea Party became corrupted and co-opted by the the likes of Kochs’, Soros and their ilk. Well, what can we expect next from the Fascists?

  • Greg

    A quick google check on defense budgets of world countries shows the U.S. topping the list (of course): $692 billion. Second place: China at $100 billion (approx 1/7 of the U.S. defense budget), and the U.S. defense budget is more than the total defense budgets of the next 17 countries (incl China) with the highest defense budgets. A check of the U.S. defense budget compared to all other federal spending also shows defense way out of proportion to other discretionary federal programs (social security and medicare are considered mandatory programs, not discretionary, and they are slightly larger than defense). I question the need for such a HUGE defense budget. We are not engaged in global warfare – even if you believe that we are engaged in a global war against terrorism, this is not the kind of war for which our defense department is designed. The cold war is luke-warm at best. C’mon, do we really need to outspend China 7 to 1 to maintain our country’s defense? Wouldn’t, for example, 3 to 1 be adequate?

  • kentuckywoman2

    The Tea Party is a joke and the Republican Party is really the Nazi Party.

  • Pingback: Military Industry Lobbyists Manufacturer Fake Tea Party Outrage Against Cutting Defense Pork « Actualités Alternatives « Je veux de l'info()

  • Pingback: How Police and Traffic Light Companies Are Conspiring to Give You More Tickets « Actualités Alternatives « Je veux de l'info()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Love Letters For Him()

  • Pingback: Love Letters For Her()

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback: