Texas Republican Michael McCaul has fumbled away nearly 3,000 jobs in his district, according to the latest research put together by the Lone Star Project. McCaul — who did not have any written communication with the Department of Defense prior to the announcement of the contract BAE Systems lost (Source) — is now facing tough scrutiny about what, if any, work he did to keep what had been, until recently, the largest defense contract in his district.
The Lone Star Project knows that McCaul hasn't done at least the following four things:
- An official letter from the Department of Defense obtained by the Lone Star Project states that no record exists of Michael McCaul contacting the Department of Defense during the contract review process to advocate for BAE systems or to request fair consideration that the contract be renewed. (Source: DOD Freedom of Information Act Request, 10/14/2009)
- McCaul failed to appear before the House Budget Committee on “Member’s Day” where Representatives can advocate for programs important to their district. (Source: House Budget Committee Witness List )
- McCaul did not go to the House floor a single time to speak on behalf of the Texas/BAE contract or to defend Texas workers. (Source: Library of Congress)
- McCaul did not make any public statements or issue any press releases supporting BAE or the nearly 3,000 jobs covered under the contract. (Source: McCaul Website)
Since that is all the stuff McCaul didn't do, the Lone Star Project is trying to ask just what he did do — since he claims to have been having “regular” communications about the contract. In a detailed letter, the Lone Star Project has asked McCaul “a series of specific questions in order to resolve his conficting statements on the contract loss and to uncover the facts that may help avoid major job losses in the future.” Here's a link to the full PDF of the letter — I've highlighted some key points below:
- What specifically did you communicate to the Army in “Late 2007?” Was it by mail or telephone? Can you produce all copies of your communication?
- If you were informed of the potential problem in 2007, what did you to to advocate for the Sealy plant officially and unofficially?
- Did you formally notify and ask for assistance from your fellow local, State, and Federal officeholders regarding the potential job loss?
- You claimed that, “My office has been in regular contact with BAE Systems prior to and during the rebid process.” Can you produce any documents that confirm “regular” communications?
- Since being elected to Congress from the 10th District, but prior to the loss of the BAE contract, have you spoken even once on the House floor promoting the quality of work and the importance of the mission at BAE Systems plant in Sealy?
As I noted earlier, previous research the LSP report has uncovered — and the Austin American-Statesman picked up on — was that McCaul's office has no written communication with DoD for the past two years. When asked about this by Gardner Selby, here's what McCaul said:
Written communication “is not how it works,” McCaul said. “It’s a little naive” to say so.
Michael McCaul never thought to get anything in writing?!?! Is it because he's just that foolish and irresponsible, or because he is just so used to communicating through right-wing radio — after all, his father-in-law is the one who owns Clear Channel, the corporation that is both Michael McCaul's single largest political contributor and the one that has given a $100 million signing bonus to McCaul's best friend, Rush Limbaugh.
I share in Kuff's anguish about this:
No written communication? Not so much as an email? That’s pretty strange. Did anyone take notes from the phone conversations they had, or minutes at the meetings? […]
McCaul’s statement here seems in conflict with this:
BAE employees expressed concern to McCaul aides around late 2007 that the Army was seeking bids for the production of the trucks made in Sealy. Many of the trucks had already been made, and they found it unusual that the Army would seek bids for the rest of those trucks. McCaul’s office relayed that concern to the Army.
In response, Army officials praised BAE’s work but said they would move forward with their plan to seek competitive bids, McCaul spokesman Mike Rosen said.
Surely BAE must have had a reason to be worried beyond the obvious fact that having a competitor means the possibility of losing. What was McCaul doing between then and September when the contract was officially awarded? Maybe he was working at it, and maybe there was nothing he could have done. I just have a hard time understanding how this could have caught people like McCaul off guard.
Understanding the actions McCaul has failed to take is crucial — you have to realize just how huge losing this contract really was. From the LSP report:
For 17 years, BAE Systems in Sealy, Texas, has built military trucks called Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) for the US Army in a plant that sits in the heart of the 10th Congressional District. BAE Systems is the single largest defense contractor in District 10. (Source: USASpending.gov) The billion dollar contract was recently taken from BAE and awarded to Oshkosh Corp. in Wisconsin costing McCaul's constituents thousands of good paying jobs. McCaul has yet to produce any documentation that he fought for the Sealy jobs before the contract was awarded or even took the most basic steps to promote the fine work done at the plant.
Michael McCaul's negligence cost his district and the state of Texas those jobs. It's that simple. While they spend the next few days trying to act extremely busy to pretend that they care, they simply failed to protect the largest defense contract — and the 3,000 working jobs that came with it. Michael McCaul is a failure as a Congressman, and he will be replaced in 2010.
Other resources for this story:
- Off the Kuff: BAE Systems & More on BAE Systems
- Brains and Eggs: Maybe they can manufacture Republic of Texas trucks
- Houston Chronicle: Truck deal loss may be showing that Texas is losing leverage
- Statesman: Troubled deal could impact McCaul's bid