Tags: president elect trump | pentagon | air force | government waste

Trump Will Jam Revolving Door of Crony DC Government

Trump Will Jam Revolving Door of Crony DC Government

Aerial view of Washington, D.C., on October 23, 2016. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

By Friday, 16 December 2016 12:15 PM Current | Bio | Archive

We finally have a situation in Washington, D.C., where the emperor is telling the subjects they’re buck naked and it’s high time they covered up those ham hocks.

In our swamp that passes for a capital, it’s commonly accepted practice for government workers — civilian and military — to negotiate a multi–million dollar contract with a private sector firm and then quit the government and go to work for the contractor.

Even after the agreement is signed, it’s equally common for the government employee whose job it is to ensure contract compliance to quit and go to work for the contractor, whose feet he was supposed to be holding to the fire.

How long do you think Donald Trump would allow that state of affairs to exist in his companies? Would Trump allow the employee who negotiated a hotel construction contract to quit Trump Enterprises and take all his institutional knowledge to work for the contractor?

Of course not, any employee who suggested such an arrangement would discover that his tenure with Trump was shorter than Donald’s attention span. That’s why private sector companies require employees to sign non-compete agreements that prohibit them from using their proprietary knowledge, gained at company expense, in the service of competitors or suppliers.

Yet those conflict-of-interest violations are commonplace in government. In fact, I’ll wager these situations are what politicians and bureaucrats are referring to when they claim to be able to make much more money in the private sector.

The Washington Post reported that, "52 of the biggest defense contractors employed 2,435 former generals, senior executives and acquisition officers. Of those, 422 were in a position to work on defense contracts directly related to their former agencies and at least nine may have been working on the same contracts they previously oversaw."

How hard a bargain do you think a Pentagon functionary is going to drive with a contractor who may be their next employer? I can promise you there is no record of Gen. E. Scrooge ever being hired by a defense contractor, but guess what? Former Air Force Chief of Staff Mark Welsh — in charge when Northrop Grumman was awarded the contract for the F-35 Joint Strike on the Treasury Fighter — is now on the company’s board of directors.

And neither he, nor Grumman, nor anyone at the Pentagon see anything untoward in the arrangement.

Northrop Grumman may not be able to produce a combat-ready airplane on time and on budget, but the revolving door it installed outside the Pentagon’s "E" Ring purrs like a kitten.

This is where a businessman who hasn’t been brainwashed to accept practices that don’t pass the smell test comes in handy. In a Fox News interview, Trump said he wants a "lifetime restriction" on top defense officials going to work for military-industrial complex.

"The people that are making these deals for the government, they should never be allowed to go to work for these companies. You know, they make a deal like that and then a year later, or two years later, or three years later you see them working for these big companies that made the deal," Trump explained.

But it shouldn’t stop there. Any federal employee that made a grant to a private sector entity, negotiated a contract, or served in the compliance office should not be allowed to go to work for the company in question or any of its subsidiaries. And the employee should not be allowed to lobby the federal agency where they formerly worked.

In genetics, inbreeding and incest produce offspring that are damaged and crippled. Inbreeding and incest in government produces the same results.

Trump should also work to ban all political contributions by federal contractors. Honest contractors will welcome not being squeezed by politicians and the contractors who are successful solely because they can hire more sleazy former government employees than the competition will have to start performing to stay in business.

It doesn’t violate the Constitution because the limit is only on government employees and contractors. No one is forced to work or do business with Uncle Sam. And removing a chronic source of corruption and unethical practices restores public trust in government and protects taxpayers.

I could make a career just writing about unethical government contracting. Here I wrote about a study the Pentagon buried that revealed $125 billion in waste. Here is an Afghanistan project that only serves to enrich contractors. And here is how government grants serve to enrich people who give away taxpayer money.

It’s time to jam the government-to-crony-contractor revolving door. Congress obviously won’t because it will be difficult and what would politicians do after voters mistakenly defeat them?

This vital task requires an outsider like Donald Trump.

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher for the League of American Voters, and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.

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Would Trump allow the employee who negotiated a hotel construction contract to quit Trump Enterprises and take all his institutional knowledge to work for the contractor?
president elect trump, pentagon, air force, government waste
Friday, 16 December 2016 12:15 PM
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