Hillary's Defense Dough

Conniff, Ruth

Political Eye Ruth Conniff Hillary's Defense Dough In the so-called money primary, Democrats are running a lap ahead of the Republicans, and Hillary Clinton is crushing the ...

...But taking money from big military contractors isn't the most troublesome fundraising issue in the current election season...
...Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, held hearings on the issue, explaining that Congress doesn't even know how much money these private contractors receive or how they spend it...
...Democrats have begun to question the lack of accountability and oversight of such Iraq War profiteers as Halliburton and Blackwater...
...As much as the anti-war Left has tried to push Hillary Clinton on her vote to go to war in Iraq and her statements on Iran, maybe the most important questions the frontrunner should answer now are what role private contractors should play in these wars, how they should be monitored, and whether there is a conflict of interest for public officials who take their money...
...The contributions clearly suggest that the arms industry has reached the conclusion that Democratic prospects for 2008 are very good indeed," Edsall writes...
...Only Chris Dodd, who has a major General Dynamics submarine project Ruth Conniff is the political editor of The Progressive...
...Reversing their historical pattern of giving lopsidedly to Republicans, employees of the nation's biggest weapons makers chose Hillary as their candidate, reports Thomas Edsall, Columbia journalism professor and Huffington Post political editor...
...Talk about "making history...
...Fluor gave Hillary Clinton $5,000 in the 2006 election cycle, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics...
...As Democrats continue to spearhead oversight efforts, defense contractors are swiftly hiring lobbyists with Democratic ties," writes Lindsay Renick Mayer of the Center for Responsive Politics...
...As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Clinton has befriended the defense industry (the contractors tend to be big donors to members on Armed Services, who control their access to lucrative government contracts...
...But the big news is the massive contributions by defense contractors to Hillary...
...Analyzing records of individual candidate contributions of $500 or more, Edsall found that employees of Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, and Raytheon gave Democratic Presidential candidates $103,900 and Republicans only $86,800 in the third quarter...
...Penn is the CEO of Bur-son-Marsteller, whose lobbying arm, BKSH, prepped Prince for his testimony...
...She has also issued calls for beefing up the military, increasing troop strength in Iraq and, most recently, refusing to discount the possibility of war with Iran...
...It's one thing to endorse boondoggle weapons programs like Star Wars, as Hillary did, or bring home the bacon for the base in your state, like Dodd...
...That's a big vote of confidence for the Democratic Party, and particularly the frontrunner...
...Among the other companies in the metastasizing war profiteering network is the Fluor Group, which testified before Waxman's committee about its construction contracts in Iraq...
...But now the construction and mercenary firms in Iraq have been reaching out to Democrats...
...To help answer questions about a rash of killings by his employees in Iraq, Erik Prince, the founder and CEO of Blackwater, hired the PR and lobbying firm run by Hillary Clinton's top campaign strategist, Mark Penn...
...in Groton, Connecticut, fared better than Hillary, with $168,900...
...The candidates' third quarter reports, released in mid-October, showed that Hillary had raised $90.9 million...
...That exceeds her $75 million goal for 2007, the Center for Responsive Politics points out, noting that Hillary is asking her big donors, the "Hillrais-ers," to come up with $1 million a pieceó ten times what George W. Bush asked his elite donors, the Pioneers, to pony up...
...The defense sector as a whole gave Hillary $122,988 this quarter, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, compared with Romney's $82,975, Giuliani's $58,400, and Obama's $57,990...
...But the rise of the mercenary industry is a new threat to our democracy...
...Barack Obama is running second to Hillary, at $80.2 million, while Mitt Romney has raised $62.8 million and Rudy Giuliani is at $47.3 million...
...The more worrisome group of donors is the private contractors that have been quietly taking over the war business from the military...
...Political Eye Ruth Conniff Hillary's Defense Dough In the so-called money primary, Democrats are running a lap ahead of the Republicans, and Hillary Clinton is crushing the other Democrats...
...And despite being a favorite Senator of General Dynamics, well before the Democrats regained Congress, Dodd introduced an amendment after Abu Ghraib to prevent the use of private military contractors for interrogations...

Vol. 71 • December 2007 • No. 12


 
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