Iraq Vet asks Paul about War Profiteers

Kelly on January 25, 2016
After identifying herself as an Iraq war veteran, Kelly Dougherty asked Rand Paul about the role of private military contractors that profit from war and use their profits to lobby for more contracts. "Anybody who gets money from government in the form of a contract should be limited in what they can do to lobby to get more of our money," said Paul. "It would say in the contract, 'I agree not to lobby and give contributions to legislators.' I think you could limit special interests by contract, voluntary contract, when they do business with government."

Iraq Vet Asks Rand Paul About War Profiteering

'When I was in Iraq, we put our lives on the line guarding private contractors so that they could make money," Kelly Dougherty told Rand Paul.  "Corporations that profit from war spend millions of dollars lobbying on campaigns and legislation. What would you do to limit corporate influence on our politicians who they treat like they’re for hire?" she asked. 

"I think it’s a great question," Senator Paul responded.  "And the first thing I would say is that anybody that gets money from government in the form of a contract should be limited in what they can do to lobby to get more of our money. And so this is going on non-stop.  And I think there is a possibility for campaign finance reform as long as we understand what the compromise has to be.  If we say, 'Oh, it’s only big business doing this,' you’re never going to get any legislation.  If we admit that it’s big business and big unions and you’ll write the rules such that we can control both, I think we can pass it.

"The Supreme Court has ruled that if I’m a group, like say I’m a pro-Second Amend group and I want to spend money, that’s speech and you can’t limit it'" he continued.  "So the way I would say that we get around that, in order to have some limitations on people purchasing and influencing government, is what I would do is say, if a contractor comes and I’m getting a billion dollar contract to build tanks or whatever.  We need tanks and we’ve got to have armaments, so a billion dollars.  The person building the tanks would have a contract they sign to get the billion dollars. It would say in the contract I agree not to lobby and give contributions to legislators."

​The Kentucky Senator went on.  "I think you could restrict special interests by contract, voluntary contract, when they do business with government.  It’s something that I’ve been trying to get the Democrats interested in and I think ultimately is the one fix would the Supreme Court would approve because it would be voluntary. You don’t have a guarantee or right to a government contract."

And it is a problem," he concluded.  "Because the biggest problem we have is government creates agencies or spends money and a lot of that money comes back to lobby for more money.  In fact, my biggest objection with the Federal Reserve right now is they actually lobby against oversight on themselves.  So we created them, they’re enormously powerful, and they come to the Senate and to Congress and lobby against them overseeing them.  So that really shouldn’t happen; I’ve got a bill to make that illegal also."

Watch the video on CSPAN here

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