Breaking the Law On Purpose

Let’s use public money to lobby for more public money

 

Sandia and its parent organization, Lockheed Martin, get almost all of their income from the federal government. In 2014, the Inspector General of the Dept. of Energy found that they illegally used taxpayer dollars to lobby Congress for a no-bid contract extension. (http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2014/11/f19/IG-0927.pdf). And this was not the first time they had used funds this way, even though they knew it was illegal. If you haven’t been caught before, go ahead and do it again, I guess.

They even paid ex-Representative Heather Wilson $226,000 to help them lobby more effectively, starting the day after she left Congress. Despite laws and policies to the contrary, the contract with Wilson had no requirements and there were no deliverables.

But hey, it was “only” a quarter million dollars for a few months of doing nothing. And it was only taxpayer money, not real money. Did anyone in management get in trouble for this? And who do you think paid the $4.7 million fine levied by the Department of Energy? Lockheed’s contract to run Sandia is worth $2.4 billion, so this fine far less than 1% of its value. They probably consider this just the cost of doing business.

Question: When a company cheats and knows it is breaking the law (Sandia’s top lawyer told them their actions were illegal), shouldn’t they be disqualified from any and all contract renewals? Why should Lockheed Martin ever be awarded another management contract for any national lab?

There was lots of media attention focused on this story. Here are a few examples:

Time Magazine: http://time.com/3948974/sandia-national-laboratories-lobbying/

Forbes Magazine: http://www.forbes.com/sites/charlestiefer/2015/08/31/lockheed-fined-4-7-million-for-fraudulent-taxpayer-paid-lobbying-with-most-corrupt-ex-rep-wilson/#6a141a184457

Project on Government Oversight – 3 Articles:

Nov. 14, 2014: http://www.pogo.org/blog/2014/11/20141114-nuclear-contractor-used-taxpayer-dollars-to-lobby-for-taxpayer-dollars.html

July 21, 2015: http://www.pogo.org/blog/2015/07/report-nuclear-contractor-misconduct.html

August 24, 2015: http://www.pogo.org/blog/2015/08/lockheed-off-easy-illegal-lobbying.html

 

 

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