Last week, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) and VoteVets Chairman Jon Soltz sparred on MSNBC about reinstating funds for new F-22s. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has called for capping production of the F-22 Raptor, a fighter that has never seen combat in the Iraq or Afghanistan theaters. Despite the fact that the OMB recommended a veto if the defense authorization budget contains new F-22s, members of Congress in the House Armed Services committee, lead by Gingrey, slipped the funding in anyways. In his debate with Gingrey, Soltz said:
The Congressman cares about the Lockheed Martin stock price, and I care about the men and women who fight on the group. And this weapon system does nothing for us.
Indeed, Gingrey’s 2008 personal finance disclosure reveals that the Congressman owned between $50,000 to $100,000 in Boeing stock, a company that joined with Lockheed to manufacture the F-22. Gingrey’s latest personal finance disclosure report, filed late this year and posted online this week, shows he still owns Boeing stock, but it has dropped in value to $15,000 to $50,000. Because Lockheed Martin is Boeing’s partner in building the F-22, Gingrey does have an actual incentive to see an additional $369 million in unnecessary spending for new F-22s.