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Project on Government Oversight

POGO Releases Lynn's Responses to Senator McCain's Ethics Concerns

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February 5, 2009

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) has obtained and is releasing for the first time to the public William J. Lynn III's responses to questions raised by Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member John McCain (R-AZ) about how Lynn's experience at Raytheon would impact his work as Deputy Secretary of Defense.  The letters reveal that despite managing Raytheon's lobbying strategies for a multitude of issues—including missile defense, sensors and radars, missiles, and munitions and artillery—Lynn will only recuse himself for one year from the programs he personally lobbied on.

In the first letter, dated January 28, Lynn refers to the legal restrictions that will be placed upon him but does not cite any specific programs that might present a conflict of interest.  The next day, Senator McCain replied to Lynn, finding that he gave "an inadequate response from an individual who is a former lobbyist who seeks to become the second most powerful person in the Department of Defense." 

In the second letter from Lynn, dated January 30, Lynn wrote to Senator McCain that his "primary responsibilities…were to provide overall supervision to the team of Raytheon lobbyists and strategic advice to the company leadership" on force protection, military space and intelligence, command and control, simulation and training, self-defense systems and decoys, missile defense, sensors and radars, missiles, munitions and artillery, and advanced technology.  Lynn only pledged, however, to not seek an authorization for the next year to participate in decisions on any of the six programs on which he personally lobbied: the DDG-1000 surface combatant, the AMRAAM air-to-air missile, the F-15 airborne radar, the Patriot Pure Fleet program, the Future Imagery Architecture, and the Multiple Kill Vehicle. 

"The letters suggest that Lynn does not fully understand the magnitude of the potential conflict of interest presented by his past experience supervising lobbyists at Raytheon," said POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian. 

This release comes on the heels of news that Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) may hold up the nomination of Lynn due to concerns about his possible conflicts of interest and past performance at the Department of Defense.   

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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