Earlier this year, we reported that Northrop Grumman gave one of its lobbyists an effective $500,000 bonus when he joined the House Armed Services Committee to make defense policy. It now appears that this isn't the only pay-out from the industry to a future staffer.
Last week, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) noted that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, hired Ann Elise Sauer, who was a lobbyist for Lockheed Martin last year, as the Republican staff director for the committee in February.
POGO revealed that Sauer received $1.66 million in pay last year and this year from Lockheed, which was described as "RETIRED PAY" in her required personal financial disclosures. This indicates that she received a de facto bonus for leaving lobbying to join government.
In response to the POGO report, McCain spokesman Brian Rogers defended the choice of Sauer, saying, "Senator McCain is very proud of Ms. Sauer's long, distinguished career working on a range of important defense issues both in Congress and in the private sector."
Perhaps fittingly, the statement from McCain's office comes on the heels of a trip the Senator is taking through several states to oppose defense cuts set to be enacted next year if Congress does not block them.
"We"have to reform the military to meet the post Cold War-era, and again, campaign finance reform -- influence to the defense contractors has to be diminished," said a more idealistic lawmaker during an interview in the summer of 2000. That senator was McCain. In the span of twelve years, he has unfortunately gone from decrying the influence of defense contractors to making sure their lobbyists receive top staffer spots in Congress.