What Was Trump’s Pick for Air Force Secretary Doing for $20K a Month?

Wilson with her last presidential employerGetty Images/Paul J. Richards

❝ Donald Trump famously promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington—to rein in lobbyists, shut the revolving door and curb the influence of well-heeled special interests. But so far, he’s had a hard time keeping this promise, with Wall Street veterans headed to the Treasury Department, coal industry advocates appointed to safeguard the environment, and now a former nuclear weapons industry consultant named to a job overseeing the purchase of such weapons…

❝ …He’s designated as the new Air Force secretary a former New Mexico Congresswoman, Heather Wilson, who’s a veteran of wheeling and dealing in Washington on behalf of private defense industry clients that paid her lucrative consulting fees.

Just a day after she left Congress in 2009, Wilson went to work as a “strategic adviser” for Sandia Corporation in Albuquerque, which runs a laboratory that helps design and manufacture America’s nuclear weapons and is a subsidiary of defense giant Lockheed Martin. The contract to run Sandia was coming to an end, and Wilson’s assignment was to convince the government to extend it without competition. Soon after, she took on a similar advising role for contractors running Los Alamos National Lab, another designer and maker of nuclear bombs.

❝ But federal auditors at the Energy Department and one of its subsidiary agencies quickly grew alarmed because Wilson refused to account for how she was spending any of her time, even while accepting $20,000 monthly from the national labs. That prompted one auditor to call a fraud hotline operated by the Justice Department, which then kicked off an investigation of its own.

The Justice probe concluded that the payments to Wilson were part of an improper effort by the Lockheed subsidiary to bill the government for money spent lobbying the government for more business. The Lockheed Martin subsidiary settled those allegations in 2015 by paying the government $4.7 million, but denied any wrongdoing. So did Wilson.

❝ …Now…she’ll be responsible for overseeing the Air Force’s voluminous interactions with Lockheed — the same firm that paid her $226,378 for two years of “strategic advising.” And Lockheed is not just another contractor. As of 2015, the latest year available, Lockheed had 3,982 outstanding Air Force contracts worth $7.4 billion — making it the largest single contractor to the Air Force…

❝ Jay Coghlan, executive director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, an anti-nuclear watchdog group in Wilson’s home state, was even more skeptical.

Wilson’s work for Lockheed Martin and other nuclear contractors “obviously raises very serious ethical questions,” Coghlan said. Coghlan conceded that the recent presidential election represented a vote for change, but added that “part of that change should be appointing ethical people to senior positions. And [Wilson has] failed that test.”

RTFA for all the juice. No cynics will be surprised. At either her resume or work/political history. She fits the Trumpkin opportunist mold perfectly.

6 thoughts on “What Was Trump’s Pick for Air Force Secretary Doing for $20K a Month?

  1. Outside agitator says:

    “In 1991, Wilson married Jay Hone, an attorney and former Air Force officer who had been an instructor of Wilson’s at the Air Force Academy.
    In 1995, Wilson was named secretary of New Mexico’s Children, Youth and Families Department. While there, she was involved in an incident that came back to bite her during her political career. She ordered that a file with information about Hone’s background as a foster parent be moved to another office. The file contained a 1993 Albuquerque police report naming Hone in a possible sexual touching case involving a youth whose legal interest Hone was handling. The touching was found to have been inadvertent. Wilson defended the movement of the file at the time, saying she didn’t want a file with personal information about her family available to department employees.
    The movement of the file was raised during Wilson’s 1998 campaign for Congress. She won a special election to fill the seat representing Albuquerque that had been held by Steve Schiff when he died in office. Wilson also won the regular election that fall.
    Wilson supported President George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq because she believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. When this turned out to be untrue, Wilson opposed having the House investigate why there had been such an important intelligence failure, stating that such an investigation “would do this country a terrible disservice.””

  2. 4therecord says:
  3. Update says:

    “The Senate confirmed President Trump’s pick to lead the Air Force, the first of his military branch leaders to get through the upper chamber. Senators voted 76-22 for Heather Wilson to be the next Air Force secretary, with only a simple majority needed to approve her nomination.” http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/332435-senate-confirms-trumps-air-force-chief “Tennessee state Rep. Mark Green (R), Trump’s second nominee to be Army secretary, withdrew his nomination amid mounting criticism about his previous comments on LGBT people, Islam, Hispanics, the Second Amendment and creationism. Vincent Viola, Trump’s first Amy secretary nominee, and Navy Secretary nominee Philip Bilden both withdrew from consideration in February over concerns about their financial holdings.”

  4. Pull Chocks says:

    Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson says she will resign (Washington Post 3/8/19) https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2019/03/08/air-force-secretary-heather-wilson-expected-resign/?utm_term=.d21963b37410 “…Wilson irked the president last year by raising concerns about how much his planned Space Force will cost the Pentagon, U.S. officials have said. More recently, she openly had supported the idea, crediting Trump for drawing attention to security concerns in space and efforts by China and Russia to advance their space-based capabilities.”

  5. Lash LaRue says:

    (The Texas Tribune March 26): “Earlier this month, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson was chosen as the next president of the University of Texas at El Paso, with President Donald Trump’s Twitter blessings and praise.
    But over the past few weeks, she’s faced backlash from students, professors and local activists over her anti-LGBTQ record and concerns about her ability to support the school’s diverse population. Her nomination has sparked a wave of protests, a petition that’s grown to more than 9,300 signatures and now the official disapproval of the Texas Democratic Party.
    “The most alarming part of all of this is seeing her voting record … and how opposed she is to the community she’s now about to lead,” said Hira Ali, a leader of the We the Student coalition, a group of student organizations and activists opposed to Wilson’s presidency.
    The main point of contention is Wilson’s anti-LGBTQ voting record from her time as a congresswoman for New Mexico in the late 1990s and early 2000s. During her time in Congress, she voted for a federal amendment to ban same-sex marriage and against bills aimed at protecting LGBTQ individuals from hate crimes and employment discrimination.
    Additionally, her opponents have raised concerns about her ability to support UTEP’s mostly Hispanic student body, pointing to her March 2006 vote against providing $84 million in grants for colleges that predominantly serve black and Hispanic students. Some opponents also have criticized her vote that year to construct a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.” https://www.texastribune.org/2019/03/26/heather-wilson-utep-president-increasing-backlash/

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