News Release

War is a Racket: Fox Guarding Hen House; Stock Buybacks Rip Off Taxpayers


The U.S. and Germany are sending more tanks to Ukraine.

Clifton is a senior advisor at the Quincy Institute and Investigative-Journalist-at-Large at Responsible Statecraft.

He just wrote the piece “Foxes watching the hen house? DC insiders oversee Biden defense plans.” He reports: “After years at the trough, these government contractors are now empowered to judge how billions are spent on a key national security strategy. …

“Earlier this month, the House and Senate Armed Services Committees named eight commissioners who will review President Joe Biden’s National Defense Strategy and provide recommendations for its implementation.

“But the Commission on the National Defense Strategy … is largely comprised of individuals with financial ties to the weapons industry and U.S. government contractors, raising questions about whether the commission will take a critical eye to contractors who receive $400 billion of the $858 billion FY2023 defense budget.

“The potential conflicts of interest start at the very top of the eight-person commission. The chair of the commission, former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), sits on the board of Iridium Communications, a satellite communications firm that was awarded a seven-year $738.5 million contract with the Department of Defense in 2019.”

Clifton also just wrote the piece “Enormous Lockheed stock buybacks and dividends come at expense of taxpayers.

“The federal government and U.S. taxpayers are effectively underwriting massive returns for Lockheed Martin shareholders, returns so impressive that the weapons firm’s CEO, James Taiclet, boasted about how the company handed $11 billion over to shareholders in 2022 via share repurchases and dividend payments, creating ‘significant value for our shareholders.’

“Taiclet, speaking on a January 24 earnings call, said that Lockheed, the world’s largest weapons firm, was ‘ending the year with a total shareholder return of 40 percent.'”