Republican Senators Chales Grassley (IA), John Warner (VA), and John McCain (AZ) have written a strongly worded letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, questioning the Boeing Co.’s attempt to write off $615 million in penalties assessed in the 2004 scandal over Boeing’s corrupt practices in its snagging of a lucrative Air Force tanker leasing contract — a contract later rescinded when the scandal broke open. The notion that taxpayers are supposed to pay Boeing’s penalty (in the form of reduced tax revenue to government), as opposed to, oh, I dunno, Boeing paying for it, is staggering. But all too predictable in the anything-goes military contractor gold rush of the Bush years.

Next questions: how come it’s Republican senators trying to hold Boeing accountable for pulling a fast one on its corporate taxes? Where are the Democrats on this? And especially, where are the Democratic senators from Boeing’s new home state of Illinois, Richard Durbin and wunderkind Barack Obama, and where are the Democratic senators from Boeing’s old home state of Washington, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell?

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