YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK

The Congress finds that responsible representative Government requires public awareness of the efforts of paid lobbyists to influence the public decisionmaking process in both the legislative and executive branches of the Federal Government; [ . . .] and the effective public disclosure of the identity and extent of the efforts of paid lobbyists to influence Federal officials in the conduct of Government actions will increase public confidence in the integrity of Government.
~ Section 2, Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995.

According to a mid-year report filed with the US Senate by The Cohen Group, Joseph Ralston was listed as a new lobbyist for Lockheed Martin for the first half of 2006:

The specific lobbying issue under item #16 of the Lobbying Report was listed as “Issues related to export of tactical fighter aircraft and defense technology.” The federal agency to be contacted, as listed in item #17, was the Department of Defense–Ralston’s old employer. The report was signed by Robert S. Tyrer, President and Chief Operating Officer of The Cohen Group, 11 August, 2006.

The report was stamped filed by the Secretary of the Senate on 22 August, 2006, just six short days prior to the State Department’s announcement of Joseph Ralston’s appointment as “special envoy” to coordinate the PKK for Turkey, and just over a month after the Pentagon sent the F-16 deal to Congress for approval.

By mid-October, Ralston’s work as a lobbyist in the first half of the year paid off, as he managed to swing the F-35 deal, in which Turkey’s ruling military caste ordered the civilian government to obey, from TDN:

In recent months the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was in favor of an idea to go for a combined solution: Proceed with an ongoing partnership in the F-35 JSF program and join the European Eurofighter consortium for other strategic purposes related to Turkey’s European Union membership aspirations. But the military command recently told the government’s defense agency that it favored only the F-35 JSF solution for the Air Force’s future requirements, the officials said.

Man . . . stuff never changes does it. Seems to me the US has it’s own version of Turkey’s ruling military caste.

TCG President Tyrer’s claim is that only 10% of TCG’s business involves lobbying, from the Washington Post:

Robert S. Tyrer, Cohen Group president and longtime Cohen aide, said that less than 10 percent of the firm’s work involves lobbying, and that most of the company’s work is unrelated to defense. Tyrer said the firm’s expertise is providing “strategic planning services” for companies around the world.

Hey, I know I believe him.

When you manage to snag $12.9 billion for one of the clients in that 10%, you don’t need to do any other business, do you? And all thanks to those tight connections between the defense industry and the government, and an appointment as a “special envoy” to the client state.

Way to go, Joe!

There’s more available from the US Senate on Lockheed Martin’s lobbyists, including TCG, here.

Special thanks to Lukery from Down Under for the tip to the Senate’s Lobby Filing Disclosure Program. That program is probably one of the few examples of taxpayer dollars actually being put to good use.

If anyone wants larger, and easier to read, gif files of the report for The Cohen Group’s disclosure as Lockheed Martin’s lobbyist, send me an email.

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