Top McCain Advisers Lobbied For Airbus… Contract Was Altered Last Year

Senator John McCain has some serious explaining to do.

— Top McCain advisers lobbied for the Airbus tanker contract.
— Airbus was not even in the running in the beginning.
— Airbus was thinking of scrapping their bid for the DOD tanker contract because they did not see themselves meeting the capability metrics
— The original contract was altered last year to favor the larger Airbus tankers over the Boeing planes.
— The contract was awarded to Airbus over America’s Boeing Company

Here’s some more information: Over the past few years the Department of Defense has awarded defense contracts to European firms for the Presidential Helicopter, Coast Guard surveillance aircraft, Army helicopters, many other programs and now today the KC-30 tankers.

Is this the best policy for America?

Airbus and Northrop Grumman’s KC-30 larger design won the prize after alterations to the original contract. (BBC photo)

Top advisers for the McCain Campaign lobbied for European Airbus tanker contract that was awarded last month. Boeing officials were outraged that the $35 billion defense contract was awarded to a foreign competitor.

The AP reported:

Top current advisers to Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign last year lobbied for a European plane maker that beat Boeing to a $35 billion Air Force tanker contract, taking sides in a bidding fight that McCain has tried to referee for more than five years.

Two of the advisers gave up their lobbying work when they joined McCain’s campaign. A third, former Texas Rep. Tom Loeffler, lobbied for the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. while serving as McCain’s national finance chairman.

EADS is the parent company of Airbus, which teamed up with U.S.-based Northrop Grumman Corp. to win the lucrative aerial refueling contract on Feb. 29. Boeing Co. Chairman and CEO Jim McNerney said in a statement Monday that the Chicago-based aerospace company “found serious flaws in the process that we believe warrant appeal.”

Boeing officials announced yesterday that they would protest the contract. Boeing is upset that the original contract was altered late last year to include larger tankers like the one that is produced by Airbus.
The AP reported:

The company argued that the Air Force changed its method for evaluating the two tankers even after issuing a request for proposals. These changes allowed a larger tanker to be competitive even though the Air Force originally had called for a medium-size plane. Air Force officials have indicated that the larger size of the tanker offered by the EADS/Northrop team helped tip the balance in its favor.

“We didn’t think they wanted a bigger plane,” Jim Albaugh, head of Boeing’s Integrated Defense Systems unit, said last week. Albaugh said this is why Boeing based its offering on Boeing’s 767, noting that “we were discouraged from offering the 777,” a bigger aircraft that would have been more comparable to the winning bid.

Once Boeing files its protest, the GAO will have 100 days to issue a ruling. A protest could delay execution of the tanker contract by nearly a year, according to Loren Thompson, a defense analyst with the Lexington Institute, a think tank.

This award to Airbus already soured local Boeing employees against McCain– A scandal would sour thousands more.

Ed Morrissey has more on the defense contract at HotAir.

Previously:
Outrage!… US Firms Infuriated Over Military’s French Aircraft Deal
Why Did DOD Change Their Rules to Give Contract to Airbus?

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