Northrop Grumman’s Inside Track

Republic Report recently published a fascinating story about a bonus paid by Northrop Grumman to Thomas MacKenzie in 2011, just before he became a staff member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Of particular interest was the size of the bonus – $498,334, as reported on MacKenzie’s financial disclosure statement.

That’s welcome cash for someone taking a 75-percent pay cut to move to public service.

The post, by reporter Lee Fang, led to Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) demanding an explanation from the defense contractor.

“The perception is horrible, at a time when the credibility of Congress is certainly in question,” Blumenthal said. “I’m concerned about the integrity of the Defense Department budget if it is tainted by any whiff of a payoff.”

Fang pointed out that committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA), who hired MacKenzie, has been a beneficiary of Northrop Grumman’s support over the years. The company has contributed $50,500 this election cycle to McKeon, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Northrop Grumman, which spent more than $4 million lobbying in the capital last year, has a long history of hiring lobbyists with Washington connections.

Filings show that 28 of the 41 lobbyists representing the company in the first quarter of 2012 had experience on Capitol Hill, the executive branch and/or the Pentagon.

Two, Jack Edwards of Ervin/Hill Strategies and Robert L. Livingston of Livingston Group, are former members of Congress.

Edwards served 10 terms in the House as a Republican from Alabama. Livingston, a member of the First Street 30, was elected to 12 terms in the House as a Republican from Louisiana. He’s a former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Other Northrop Grumman lobbyists who’ve crossed over from public service jobs include:

Christopher M. Lehman, special assistant to the president during the Reagan administration. Lehman was also director of strategic nuclear policy at the Department of State.

Martin Dupont, vice president at Ervin Technical Associates. Dupont is former chief of legislative affairs for the U.S. Pacific Command.

James L. Ervin, Ervin Technical Associates, chairman and CEO of Ervin Technical Associates. Ervin is a retired Air Force colonel.

Menda Fife, former staffer to Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA).

Letitia White, former chief of staff to Rep. Charles “Jerry” Lewis (R-CA), a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

Mark Kadesh, former chief of staff to Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Jane Lakes Harman (D-CA).

Daniel J. Mattoon, former deputy chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Benjamin Abrams, former deputy chief of staff to former Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-MD) and ex-policy adviser to Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD).

John Jonas, former counsel to the House Ways & Means Committee and legislative director to the late Rep. Bob Shamansky (D-OH).

Norma Krayem of Patton Boggs, former deputy chief of staff at the Department of Transporation.

Leo Clark of Potomac Advocates, formerly with the Air Force budget liaison office.

Archibald Galloway Jr., former defense policy adviser to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

William John Nichols, former special assistant to the secretary of defense.

John Scofield, former communications director for the House Appropriations Committee.

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