Friday, March 28, 2008

CAGW has the rest of the story on the Boeing, Northrop Grumman controversy

Recently, the U.S. Air Force selected an American company, Northrop Grumman, to build America's new tanker. Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) is working to educate the public concerning the need to support the competitive vetting process that the U.S. Air Force followed in awarding the contract for its next generation of aerial refueling tankers.

CAGW asserts that this process is a vast improvement over the originally proposed tanker lease deal with Boeing, which was crafted by members of Congress behind closed doors without any competitive review or debate in order to subsidize Boeing's 767 production line.

The original tanker deal was nothing more than a corporate welfare giveaway to one well-heeled, politically influential company at the expense of American taxpayers. Then-Senator Phil Gramm (R-Texas) called it the worst pork-barrel handout he had seen in his 22 years on Capitol Hill.

The proposed deal also proved to be a prime example of cronyism and corruption. An Air Force procurement official received a nine-month prison sentence for negotiating the deal while seeking employment at Boeing; top Boeing officials were forced to resign; and the company had to pay the federal government a fine of more than $600 million.

By contrast, the latest tanker decision was based on an open and transparent bidding process. The Air Force ranked each bid on five criteria and Northrop Grumman won over Boeing on four out of the five and tied in one category.

According to published reports, both sides praised the fairness of the competition before the award was announced and agreed that this was the most rigorous acquisition process in the Department of Defense's history.

Northrop Grumman will be using 230 companies across America in 49 states-- companies that will employ thousands of Americans-- to support this vital project. What's more, contrary to the propaganda put out by some critics, the tanker will be built by American workers and outfitted with sensitive technology right here at home in Mobile, Alabama.

Any attempt by Congress now to overturn or undermine the Air Force's recent decision would smack of the special-interest politics condemned by the public and federal investigators the first time around, according to CAGW.

The Air Force should be applauded for protecting the interests of taxpayers and our troops by finding the best tanker at the best price.

Despite our troops' urgent need for new tankers, the losing company in the competition, Boeing, is now protesting the contract award and their friends in Congress are doing everything possible to delay the process and reverse the decision.

Citizens Against Government Waste has closely watched this contracting process for a long time, and they're mindful of the fact that the only reason Northrop Grumman was allowed to bid on-- and win-- the contract in the first place is that Boeing's original tanker lease arrangement with the Air Force was fraudulent, could have over charged U.S. taxpayers millions of dollars, and resulted in a senior Boeing official going to jail on corruption charges.

The REAL facts Boeing won't tell you in its advertising:
  1. The United States Air Force award was based on five criteria and Northrop Grumman won on four out of the five and tied in one category.
  2. The competition was transparent and open. Both Northrop Grumman and Boeing praised the USAF for the fairness of the competition before the award was announced. Boeing only complained after they were not selected. In other words, they were for the fairness of the competition before they were against it.
  3. Northrop Grumman is an American company and the estimated 48,000 jobs involved in the project are based in the United States.
  4. No U.S. jobs are outsourced overseas. Period.
  5. No U.S. military technology is exported, either. Period.

Click here to tell Senator John Warner, Senator Jim Webb, and Congressman Eric Cantor to stop the delays and ensure that these much needed tankers are built today.