Lee Fang reports that Patricia McKeon received at least $19,200 in contributions from defense contractors or their registered lobbyists in her first few months of fundraising. McKeon’s run for the California assembly occurs as defense contractors are working to mitigate impending defense budget cuts which could affect their bottom line.
The influx of funding from defense contractors for a California State Assembly campaign doesn’t make much sense from an influence peddling standpoint as Patricia McKeon’s most high profile campaign plank has been to call for an end to plastic bag taxes [PDF]. But the campaign contributions overlap with her husband’s efforts to protect the defense industry from his perch as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Fang writes:
Lockheed Martin, a company locked in a pitched battle to stave off cuts to the lucrative F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet, cut Patricia McKeon’s campaign a $3,000 check.
Rep. Buck McKeon has rigorously defended the jets, despite growing concerns that the planes will run almost $90 million over budget each.
Donors such as Max Valente, a D.C. defense lobbyist who had already maxed out in contributions to McKeon’s congressional campaign, contributed to Patricia McKeon’s campaign in his only campaign contribution to a state politician.
Fang adds that Patricia McKeon has benefited financially from Buck McKeon’s campaign committee — since 2001 she was paid over $547,584 — but she now appears to have tapped her husband’s cash flush supporters in the defense industry for her own foray into elected politics.