Here is some information to think about.  Congressman Dave Reichert is running for election to again be one of Washington’s Representatives in Congress.  After his initial good old boy appearances with President Bush, he (or his aides) do not do a good job of assuring the public they even read for content and meaning letters from their constituents.  No matter what comments and concerns are sent, responses are evasive and do not directly answer the concerns expressed to him in the letters, and in fact the same kind of form letter is sent in return, rah rah, “Don’t you worry; we support Boeing no matter what awful thing they allegedly have done or not done.”

 

Republican Dave Reichert is being challenged by Democrat, Darcy Burner, in the 2008 elections for Congress in Washington State.  I for one, after reviewing this material and seeing the lack of informed responsiveness in his replies, hope there will be a defeat in Reichert’s future.  –GFS

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See the following for a bit of history:

 

July 27, 2007

Dear

I found this editorial that was written a year ago, after the infamous Boeing “Tanker Deal” and find that the problems described and the questions being asked are still germane to the problems we continue to have with Boeing and with parts of the government itself today.  What is being done to stop this pattern of waste fraud and abuse by contractors and what appears to be ineffective handling of it by the Attorney’s General and other government offices?

 

Sincerely

 

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The Boeing Scandal After the Boeing Scandals

By Robert Weissman

Posted July 11, 2006 | 07:47 AM (EST)

The United States treats its petty criminals harshly, and not just the worst offenders.

 

If you get caught selling small amounts of marijuana, or get caught stealing on a couple occasions, you are liable to get a significant jail term. Once you get out, you may well find you have to pay thousands of dollars in court costs and other fees. Get placed on probation, and you may have to pay the costs of your probation officer.

You may be deprived of your right to vote. You will find it very hard to get a job.

On the other hand, the crimes of corporations get treated with kid gloves. Leave aside for a moment the treatment of individual executives — that’s a topic for another day — to consider how light the treatment is for corporations that commit crimes.

 

The latest evidence is a remarkable deal the government just entered with Boeing.

In May, the Justice Department announced a tentative agreement with Boeing to resolve two entirely separate and quite serious cases of apparent criminal wrongdoing.

 

The deal looked scandalous in May. But then the final agreement was announced just before the July 4 weekend, and it turns out to be worse than anyone could have anticipated.

 

Both of the instances of Boeing’s wrongdoing involved major offenses against the U.S. government and U.S. taxpayers. They both involved projects of considerable importance to Boeing. And in both cases the company’s conduct was extraordinarily egregious; these were not failures to comply with arcane rules, but theft of a competitor’s proprietary data to facilitate bid-rigging and a quid pro quo arrangement with a government contracting officer to facilitate a massive government overpayment for a weapons system of very questionable benefit.

 

In the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Program scandal, Boeing acquired 25,000 pages of bidding documents from its sole competitor, Lockheed Martin. It then used the information to set its bids just below those of Lockheed. The government and taxpayers were thus cheated of the benefits of genuine competition.

 

In the elaborate Darleen Druyan affair, Air Force contracting officer Druyan admitted doing a variety of “favors” for Boeing. In the Pentagon’s misguided deal to lease rather than buy tankers from Boeing, Druyan admitted that she “agreed to a higher price for the aircraft than she believed was appropriate.” Boeing reciprocated for these gifts — ripoffs of taxpayer money — by hiring her. Her hiring was managed at the highest levels of the company, involving then-Chief Financial Officer Michael Sears.

 

Despite the gravity of the corporate wrongdoing in the two cases, Boeing is going to get off with payment to resolve civil claims and a $50 million “monetary penalty.” Not a criminal penalty, mind you, because Boeing is not being charged with any crimes, nor acknowledging that it might have been, based on the evidence. The company gets to avoid the reputational harm of a criminal plea — or even a criminal charge — and Lockheed won’t be able to use any Boeing concession of criminal wrongdoing in the companies’ ongoing civil litigation (which, incidentally, might be resolved by the two firms’ rocket launch divisions merging).

 

For extensive materials on these cases, check out the good work of the Project on Government Oversight.

Non-prosecution deals like the Boeing agreement are the norm, not an exception. My frequent co-author Russell Mokhiber of Corporate Crime Reporter issued a study this past December which found that there were at least 34 non-prosecution and deferred prosecution agreements with large corporations between 1992 and 2005 — with more than two thirds of the cases occurring since 2002.

 

But there are a few novel features of the Boeing deal.

First, it settles two entirely separate cases at once. One factor the Department of Justice is supposed to use in deciding whether to prosecute criminally is whether a company is a repeat offender. Here, we know Boeing is — because the no-prosecute deal itself resolves repeat offenses.

 

Ralph Nader and I have written to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, asking him to undo the Boeing deal and formally reassess the routinized use of deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements for large corporations. Our letter is here.

The basic idea behind non-prosecution or deferred prosecution deals is that prosecutors can extract commitments for corporate reforms that are more far-reaching than what they would have achieved with a criminal prosecution. A key element in all of these deals is that the company benefiting from the deal promises not to repeat the behavior that got them in trouble in the first place.

 

The second novel feature of the Boeing deal is how Boeing’s lawyers restricted this pledge. As Russell Mokhiber first noted, under the terms of the actual agreement — which the Justice Department only made available after Russell harrassed them — if a non-executive level Boeing employee violates the agreement, that doesn’t count as a violation by Boeing. “Drawing the line between executives and other employees is a little crude,” said Columbia University Law Professor John Coffee. “I don’t think you want to tell non-executive employees they are legally immune and can’t get the company in trouble. You want the company monitoring all employees.” That’s not all. Under the terms of the actual agreement, if an executive commits a violation but the company turns them in, that doesn’t count as a violation either. Russell and I wrote about these remarkable provisions — which means to a considerable extent that Boeing can’t violate the agreement with the Justice Department even if it does violate the agreement — here.

 

While Congress is going through the Kabuki dance of considering flag-burning amendments, the real business of Washington goes on.

 

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July 27, 2007

 

Dear Congressman Reichert,

 

I just read this article in Forbes regarding Boeing once again being allowed to pay to avoid alleged crimes being prosecuted.  This case is about small things like nuts and bolts.  Obviously, that is being taken seriously as wrongdoing here, as Boeing had to pay over a million dollars, a small sum in the grand view of things.  However, the other case I know you know about, which after being passed along like the plague by various federal criminal investigative agencies continues to roil about in case development stages in the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and appears to be having a hard time being effectively accomplished.  This case is about Boeing appropriating and using for their own purposes and then billing repeatedly I am told, Research and Development (R&D), which was already paid for by the government previously to the tune of millions or billions of dollars.  If they can be held accountable for negligible sums of money, why are they allowed to cheat and steal with impunity when we are talking vast sums of money?  To use a simple analogy, why is it easier for Justice Dept. to go after people for stealing a chair off the porch, than hold defense contractors accountable for the theft of the entire, house, barn and herds of livestock, which is occurring right in front of the government’s eyes?

 

Also, why does the government make it so hard for people who are with the government’s best interests in focus reporting these unethical and criminal acts?  Why are these people called whistleblowers, and then punished for being responsible?  And finally, why won’t the government, all branches make sure laws are passed which protect all such government employees from retribution and harassment and destruction of their lives for just doing their jobs?  Are all parts of government so corrupted and ineffective, they really cannot hold the line and clean this up?

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Please see summary of article and link to Forbes article I refer to below:

 

 

 

Forbes reports in “Boeing to Pay $1M to Settle Bills Claims” July 16, 2007, that the Boeing Company has agreed to pay more than $1 million to settle allegations that the company over billed for materials used in installing new KC-135 aircraft engines.  U.S. attorney’s announced this Monday, July 16.  Forbes story available at:  http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/07/16/ap3919116.html

 

U.S. attorney, Eric Melgren, is quoted as saying “that the government alleged that Boeing double-billed for materials used in modernizing KC-135 Stratotankers and RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft.  Materials double billed included nuts, bolts, rivets, and fasteners.”   Further more, prosecutors alleged, “that Boeing charged for the materials even though those costs were included in the company’s contract with the government.”

 

It appears that, if the allegations of double billing are true, by allowing Boeing to settle out of court, the U.S. Attorney General’s office has rescued the company once again from the logical consequences of their actions.  Criminal charges, which if they’d been found guilty in court, would have caused an official record of criminal wrong-doing and the probability, if not requirement, of punitive removal of the company’s eligibility to bid on and be awarded lucrative government defense contracts for a set period of time, or possibly indefinitely.   

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The following was a response to an apparently detailed letter of concern regarding the outrageous treatment of whistleblowers, and lack of legal protection for whistleblowers in this country and asked for his help in passing improved legislation.  The response was clearly fogging.  -GFS

 

 

August 14, 2007 

Dear ************,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts regarding Whistleblower Protection. I appreciate the opportunity to respond.

A whistleblower is anyone who makes public disclosure of corruption or wrongdoing. This is an important process that ensures that employees are protected when they raise allegations of wrongdoing in the workplace. Some famous whistleblowers include Sherron Watkins, who exposed Enron’s corporate financial scandals, Joseph Darby who alerted the U.S. military of prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib and Colleen Rowley who exposed the failure of the Federal Bureau of Investigations to act on information regarding Zacarias Moussaoui , who was later convicted of conspiring to kill Americans in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In 1989, the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) was passed and signed into law. However, the WPA has continuously been challenged and therefore weakened through numerous rulings by the U.S. Courts of Appeals. This process has virtually taken away all whistleblower protection. During the 109 th Congress, Representative Todd Platts (R-PA) introduced legislation to strengthen protections for federal employees. H.R. 1317, the Federal Employee Protection of Disclosures Act, would protect any federal employee who discloses any evidence of waste, abuse, or gross mismanagement in the government. Currently no legislation has been introduced in the 110 th Congress regarding whistleblower protection. Should legislation be introduced, I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind.

In addition, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) of 2002, included provisions that would protect corporate whistleblowers from acts of discrimination, as a result of whistleblowing. This legislation was signed into public law on July 30, 2002.

I appreciate hearing from you. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any other concerns or questions. I encourage you to contact me via my website at http://www.house.gov/reichert/ to expedite your thoughts and I apologize for any inconvenience.

Sincerely,

David G. Reichert
Member of Congress
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Congressman Reichert’s Response to Defense Contract Corruption 9-14-07

I have sent numerous letters to all of my elected representatives, including Congressman Dave Reichert, regarding the continuing (and growing) problem with corruption within Defense Contracting, Defense contractors, such as The Boeing Company, the “Tanker Deal,” the more recent GAO decisions regarding the “Helicopter Deal” with the USAF, etc.  (This information is posted previously on this site.)   

My letters have all stated concerns for the corruption, no bid aspects, etc. and have asked for my elected officials to stand up and clean up the mess and my contention that business should be done in an ethical manner both by defense contractors, all government agencies and the Pentagon.

This is the response I got back 9-14-07 from Congressman Reichert, which makes it seem that they note the topic, but not the view and what they are being asked to do.  I feel like he counted my letter as one supporting the current status quo, which to say the least, is NOT what I stated! 

I am disgusted with what has been going on in the Boeing Company and others.  I am further disgusted with the apparent lack of ethical and responsible government oversight of defense and other contracting.  I asked Rep. Reichert to challenge Boeing and their corrupt counterparts within our government, not to continue to give them contracts at any cost, but to clean their act up and make them deal ethically and honestly with the government and the American people.   

To date, I have not received any kind of response from Senator Patti Murray or Senator Maria Cantwell or any of the others I wrote to about this matter. 

 

 

Response from Congressman David Reichert on September 14, 2007

“Thank you for sharing your thoughts regarding the Air Force tanker selection process. It was good to hear from you and I welcome the opportunity to respond.

The United States Air Force is currently looking to purchase a new line of refueling tankers. They have come up with a list of 26 requirements that must be met by companies such as Boeing in order to receive a contract.

In 2004, the House Armed Services Committee voted unanimously to require the Air Force to enter into a multi-year contract for new tankers. The current line of tankers includes planes that are 40 years old, some of which are corroding and the Air Force now has an urgent need to replace these planes. The Department of Defense is currently considering all options for this contract to ensure that they get the best planes for the taxpayers’ dollars. I believe that Boeing is the company that can provide the Air Force with the best possible planes for the taxpayers’ money, and I am hopeful that Congress will work to continue a strong relationship with Boeing. Boeing has a proven track record of providing high-quality refueling tankers for the US Air Force.

Please know that I will continue to support Boeing and jobs in the Pacific Northwest. Boeing’s Everett plant provides hundreds of jobs for Washington families. The impact that this contract could have on the economy of our region and the lives of thousands of Washingtonians is very significant. Please know that I will continue to fight on behalf of Washington families by advocating that this contract be awarded to Boeing.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to get in touch with me. Your interest and input are valued and I hope to hear from you in the future regarding other matters of importance. I encourage you to visit my website and sign up for my weekly e-newsletter at http://www.house.gov/reichert/ to learn more about other issues impacting the 8th Congressional District and our nation.”

Sincerely,

David G. Reichert
Member of Congress

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From 8/17/07

 

Dear *************,

 

Thank you for sharing your thoughts regarding Whistleblower Protection. I appreciate the opportunity to respond.

A whistleblower is anyone who makes public disclosure of corruption or wrongdoing. This is an important process that ensures that employees are protected when they raise allegations of wrongdoing in the workplace. Some famous whistleblowers include Sherron Watkins, who exposed Enron’s corporate financial scandals, Joseph Darby who alerted the U.S. military of prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib and Colleen Rowley who exposed the failure of the Federal Bureau of Investigations to act on information regarding Zacarias Moussaoui , who was later convicted of conspiring to kill Americans in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In 1989, the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) was passed and signed into law. However, the WPA has continuously been challenged and therefore weakened through numerous rulings by the U.S. Courts of Appeals. This process has virtually taken away all whistleblower protection. During the 109 th Congress, Representative Todd Platts (R-PA) introduced legislation to strengthen protections for federal employees. H.R. 1317, the Federal Employee Protection of Disclosures Act, would protect any federal employee who discloses any evidence of waste, abuse, or gross mismanagement in the government. Currently no legislation has been introduced in the 110 th Congress regarding whistleblower protection. Should legislation be introduced, I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind.

In addition, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) of 2002, included provisions that would protect corporate whistleblowers from acts of discrimination, as a result of whistleblowing. This legislation was signed into public law on July 30, 2002.

I appreciate hearing from you. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any other concerns or questions. I encourage you to contact me via my website at http://www.house.gov/reichert/ to expedite your thoughts and I apologize for any inconvenience.

Sincerely,

David G. Reichert
Member of Congress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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