Pentagon contractors flock to Mrs. McKeon

Why are defense lobbyists funding the pet crusade of the wife of Buck McKeon, House Armed Services Committee chair?

Topics: Campaign Finance, Pentagon,

Pentagon contractors flock to Mrs. McKeon Howard "Buck" McKeon: Help my wife. Please! (Credit: AP/Susan Walsh)

Patricia McKeon, wife of a powerful committee chairman in Congress, announced her bid for California Legislature last fall by telling local Republicans that she decided to run for office because she’s fed up with the plastic bag tax in Los Angeles County. “Just think how much food we could buy if we weren’t forced to pay 10 cents for grocery bags,” she said in announcing her campaign. Within days of her official announcement, one industry stepped up to finance her campaign — but it wasn’t the plastic bag industry. It was military defense contractors and their Beltway lobbyists.

Disclosures posted last evening at the California secretary of state’s website confirm that a flood of military contractor money has flowed to Patricia McKeon, who is running for an open Assembly seat in a district that overlaps that of her husband, Republican Rep. Buck McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

As Salon first reported this week, defense lobbyists are scrambling to mitigate looming defense budget cuts and appear to be donating to Patricia McKeon because of her husband’s powerful position overseeing  the Pentagon budget.

In her first few months of fundraising, Patricia McKeon collected at least $19,200 from defense contractors or their registered lobbyists. Her husband of 49 years is already the top recipient of military industry cash in Congress, so some of the contributions to his wife appear to be an attempt to get around federal campaign contribution limits.

Lockheed Martin, a company locked in a pitched battle to stave off cuts to the lucrative F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet, cut Patricia McKeon’s campaign a $3,000 check.



Rep. Buck McKeon has rigorously defended the jets, despite growing concerns that the planes will run almost $90 million over budget each.

The lobbying firm Beau Butler LLC gave to Patricia McKeon as well. Beau Butler lobbies for Proxy Aviations, a drone company. Although it’s not clear why a drone maker would rally to Patricia McKeon’s call to end plastic bag taxes, the industry is an important cause for Buck McKeon. He’s co-chairman of a caucus dedicated to promoting drones for both military and civilian purposes.

Other Buck McKeon-related lobbies also donated to Patricia McKeon’s campaign coffer. Bruce Leftwich, a government affairs executive with a group associated with for-profit colleges, gave $500. In his previous committee chairmanship, at the helm of a subcommittee dealing with post-secondary education during the Bush years, McKeon helped for-profit colleges with a rule that extended billions in taxpayer money.

Lee Fang is an investigative journalist in the Bay Area.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 17
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    John Stanmeyer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.

    Lu Guang

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China

    Carolyn Cole/LATimes

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

    Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    “Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA

    Google Earth/NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.

    Garth Lentz

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada

    Cotton Coulson/Keenpress

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway

    Yann Arthus-Bertrand

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.

    Stephanie Sinclair

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.

    Mike Hedge

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million

    Google Earth/ 2014 Digital Globe

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.

    Daniel Dancer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

    Peter Essick

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.

    Daniel Beltra

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico

    Ian Wylie

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Slide 13

    Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.

    R.J. Sangosti/Denver Post

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>