Former Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon is just weeks out from retiring from Congress, where he served as chair of the powerful House Armed Services Committee. Not wasting any time, McKeon this week announced the formation a consulting firm where he plans on being “outspoken for a strong national defense.”
The move, reported in the Santa Clarita Valley News, is just the latest stage of a career in which McKeon has raked in millions from military contractors. Since the 2000 election, according to Open Secrets, McKeon collected over $8,000,000 in defense-related campaign contributions. In the 2011 cycle, his top six contributors were military contractors Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrup Grumman, General Atomics, Boeing, and BAE Systems.
McKeon certainly has delivered value to his donors. In 2012, the Nation’s Lee Fang wrote
Name a weapons program the Pentagon doesn’t want, and it’s likely McKeon has gone to bat for it. Earlier this year, McKeon produced language in the defense budget that included a new missile defense shield for the east coast—a multi-million dollar program derided by General Martin Dempsey as unnecessary. McKeon led a campaign to demand that the government fund a second engine program for the F-35—at a cost of $450 million a year—over protests from the Pentagon that the program had no use it all. McKeon is also pressing for additional purchases of F-35’s, against the wishes of the Obama administration, despite the fact that the fighter jet is shaping up to be the most expensive weapon in human history, with a lifetime cost of $1.45 trillion.
In addition, McKeon was also a leader in the fight against sequestration of the defense budget. And, according to Fang, McKeon was a founder and chair of the Congressional Drone Caucus.
As CEO of The McKeon Group LLC, the former congressman will be barred from personal lobbying contacts for a scant one-year cooling off period. Even during that time, he will be free to acquire clients, plan advocacy campaigns and supervise the lobbying work of his staff.
McKeon didn’t walk through the revolving door alone. He’s taking former chief of staff Bob Cochran with him. According to LittleSis, other former McKeon staffers now working as lobbyists for the defense industry include Josh Holly (lobbying for Podesta Group clients BAE and Lockheed Martin), Hans Heinrichs, and Roger Zackheim.