When Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us to “guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex” he must have had in mind something like the actions of Curt Weldon (PA-07). How does the military-industrial complex acquire unwarranted influence? Let us count the ways. Leslie Wayne details the sordid relationship between Curt Weldon and an Italian arms manufacturer named Finmeccanica. Finmeccanica subsidiaries hired Weldon’s daughter, hired his close friend (with no lobbying experience) to be a lobbyist, and then located their headquarters in his district. In return, they received a contract to make the next generation Marine One presidential helicopter and Weldon asked the Navy to reconsider a decision to use a rival company’s guns on their Littoral Combat Ships.
Pretty straight forward stuff, actually. Weldon enriches his friends and brings jobs to his district. He probably doesn’t think he did anything wrong. But this is corruption. This is a rotten way to determine what kind of weapons systems we will buy for our armed services. It’s just a snapshot of a much bigger problem. Eisenhower warned us about this and we didn’t listen. Prior to 9/11, the United States accounted for 36% of global arms expenditures. Now the number is significantly higher. Sending Curt Weldon packing is not going to fix the problem. But it will send a message. Volunteer for Joe Sestak.