Monday, April 5, 2010

Egregious conflict of interest

I've commented on this before, either here or over at America's Debate but I ran across a fairly recent article that covers the issue in much more detail than I previously had. The issue at hand is retired senior military officers working as both lobbyists for defense firms AND compensated mentors for active duty senior military officers.

By a show of hands, how many of you even knew this was yet another scheme that your tax dollars were funding? Nobody? Huh......that darn 'liberal media' sure is on it's ass......

In a marketplace awash in consulting firms that help defense companies sell to the Pentagon, the Durango Group has a unique advantage. The Colorado-based firm has become a base of operations for retired officers who also are handsomely paid by the military for their advice.

No other defense consulting firm employs more “senior mentors” than Durango. Of the 59 former officers who work for Durango, 15 also serve as mentors, a USA Today investigation found.

As Durango associates, the retired officers are paid to help private companies win and administer Pentagon contracts. As mentors, the retirees are paid by the military to help run war games, which also gives them access to classified strategies and weapons systems. Durango cites these mentoring assignments on its Web site as signs of its associates’ unique connections.

Along with their work for Durango and the military, these retired officers, mostly from the Air Force, are paid advisers, consultants and corporate directors on the boards of at least 20 companies, according to public records. Three of them work for private equity firms to help them identify, buy and then run defense contractors.

Durango’s ability to mix mentoring and consulting work illustrates how closely the private interests of some mentors overlap with their military advisory jobs. The firms’ mentors move seamlessly between roles as paid advisers to the services and paid consultants to defense companies in the same subject areas, USA Today found.

As a result, Durango and the mentors it employs draw income from multiple sources. Both get paid by the military for advice and by defense contractors who want consulting help. The firm also benefits from having its mentors serve as corporate directors or advisers for other companies.

That kind of overlap is not illegal. But some analysts say it should be.
Army Times

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