Tanker And McCain
Remember the Air Force refueling tanker contract, that $40 billion deal announced a few months ago? It just got a lot more interesting.
Think presidential election campaign.
First a little background. You may recall that a self-styled taxpayer group called Citizens Against Government Waste went on the public relations warpath to defend the deal. Government Inc. was able to show that CAGW, a tax-exempt charity, had teamed up with contract winner Northrop Grumman to urge Americans to speak out in favor of the award.
CAGW also condemned critics of the deal, who wanted the award to go to incumbent Boeing. (Democrats, unions and other critics contend, sometimes in hyperbolic rhetoric, the award to Northrop and its partner, European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, would mean a loss of thousands of jobs to European factories.)
Anyway, it turns out that Sen. John McCain got hammered after the contract was announced. McCain had pressed hard for a wide open competition, including foreign companies, saying it would lead to a cleaner and more effective deal. Democrats and trade unions blamed him for what they said would be huge job losses.
The campaign was really frustrated because they want McCain to be seen as a taxpayer advocate, not as a guy who sends jobs abroad.
Guess who McCain's campaign reached out to for help and information? You got it: CAGW. Did you know that one of McCain's best buddies and a campaign volunteer sits on CAGW's board? (Swindle is also on the board of the group's lobbying arm, which endorsed McCain.) Or that CAGW's lobby PAC has donated most of its cash to McCain over the last four years? Or that McCain's campaign loves to cite a quote from CAGW in its ads, one that describes McCain as a taxpayer hero?
Or that....Well, you get the point.
CAGW has been accused in the past of accepting money from organizations that benefit from its advocacy. Their tanker campaign does not mention McCain. One has to wonder whether they're serving here as a proxy?
CAGW and McCain's campaign say they're not coordinating and that they're each separately working only in the interests of taxpayers.
Now for the multi-media, let's go to the video.
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