Ethics Groups Oppose Heather Wilson Nomination for Air Force Secretary

The following letter has been delivered to Senator John McCain (R-NM) and Senator Jack Redd (D-RI), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee:

As leading organizations promoting ethics and accountability, we strongly urge you to vote against the nomination of Heather Wilson to be Secretary of the Air Force.

Recently published articles by Patrick Malone of the Center for Public Integrity and others have underscored the questionable actions of former Rep. Heather Wilson in connection with the activities of her firm, Heather Wilson LLC, in its work for Lockheed subsidiary Sandia Corp.

A Politico article of last month, “Records show how Air Force nominee skirted lobbying restrictions” details how emails and other materials show Wilson was deeply involved in the strategic plan to “help the Sandia Corp. win a noncompetitive contract for continued nuclear weapons work…”

The article went on to note that Lockheed does “more business with the Air Force than any other contractor…”

The article cites Gordon Adams, professor emeritus at American University and former associate director for national security at OMB, as stating Wilson has an “appearance of conflict of interest, and appearances matter.” Dr. Gordon stated, “She should probably recuse herself from anything involving Lockheed.”

Even worse for Wilson, “The Energy Department’s inspector general ruled in 2013 that the contracts she signed with Sandia Corp. and other contractors were overly vague and violated governmental rules…As a result, the contractors were forced to give back the federal money they collected to pay her fees.”

Wilson’s questionable actions on behalf of the largest contractor for the Air Force, as detailed in two Inspector General reports, make a compelling case for not approving her nomination to be Secretary of the Air Force.

National Legal and Policy Center

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

Public Citizen