The Assembly race pits Patricia McKeon against her husband’s former district director in a bitter GOP primary. The former aide, Scott Wilk, declined to comment on her fundraising. However, last week he told National Journal Daily: “The congressman has told people in the district that he plans to lock her in the room, raise all of her money, and win it on her name ID.”
The top two election process in the California June Primary Election may very well lend itself to this strategy. Patricia McKeon’s competitors have NOT been able to match the fundraising prowess as her husband’s defense contractor friends in Washington.
California law bars registered state lobbyists from contributing to candidates for the Legislature. But Beltway lobbyists are free from such restrictions – and the McKeons have taken advantage. Last October, the congressman hosted a fundraiser for his wife at the Capitol Hill Club, a Republican enclave steps from the Capitol and next door to the GOP’s national headquarters. Afterward, numerous federal defense lobbyists opened up their wallets.
John Killeen, a lobbyist for SAIC, a defense contractor that spent $2 million on lobbying last year, contributed $500. Tania Hanna, a lobbyist for Harris, a defense firm that spent $3.3 million on lobbying in 2011, contributed $250. Jeffery Walter, CEO of lobbying firm The Walter Group, contributed $500. Among his firm’s clients is Lockheed Martin. None returned calls for comment. Beau Boulter LLC, a lobbying firm based in Arlington, Va., with defense clients, also contributed $1,500.
So, will the voters in California AD-38 even know that this election is being bought and paid for by Washington defense contractor lobbyists who wish to curry favor with the candidate’s husband?
Several of Patricia McKeon’s contributors are executives at defense firms.
Joseph Kimmit, an executive vice president for Oshkosh, who lives in McLean, Va., contributed $500. Oshkosh, headquartered in Oshkosh, Wis., was the nation’s ninth largest defense contractor in 2010, according to Government Executive, with more than $6 billion in business. Barney Klinger, CEO of Applied Companies in Santa Clarita, Calif., which is in McKeon’s district, contributed $1,000. His firm manufactures military air conditioners, among other items.
Daniel Packard, senior vice president of sales for Revision Military, maker of military sunglasses, contributed the maximum $3,900 to her primary bid. Packard, whose filing indicates he lives in Illinois, said he tries to “stay aware” and support good candidates everywhere.
He has made only one contribution to a federal candidate, $1,500 to Buck McKeon, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. “I don’t really discuss who I donate to or why,” he said.