In a candidate's debate at the State Fair, Mike Erlandson called for a withdrawal from Iraq, but without a specified date. On his website the Sabo-approved Erlandson writes that he supports diplomacy over military force, and that a transfer of responsiblity for reconstruction and security in Iraq should happen "as quickly as possible." These are all noble causes--but they just don't jive with the campaign contributions he's been accepting--over $4000 from military contractors.
According to the FEC, Erlandson has received $2000 from BAE Systems, a company that's received a slew of Iraq-related contracts. To name but a few:
• A $223.5 million contract, announced earlier this month, to upgrade 96 Bradley Combat Systems vehicles.
• A $180 million contract in June to manufacture 378 Iraqi Light Armored Vehicles. ("The total value of the indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract could reach $445.4 million and 1,050 vehicles if all options are exercised, and deliveries could continue until the end of November 2009.")
• Another contract, worth $27 million, to upgrade 44 Bradley vehicles. ("BAE Systems has been awarded 405 national level reset Bradley vehicles to date under fiscal year 2006 funding, totaling $254.4 million.")
Also on Erlandson's FEC disclosure: a $1000 contribution by the General Dynamics Voluntary Political Contribution Plan, a contractor with recent deals with the army to produce munitions ($187 million) and Abrams tanks ($108 million). Lockheed-Martin, maker of U2 and Blackbird spy planes, F-16 and F/A-22 jet fighters, Hellfire and Javelin missiles, plus nuclear weapons, gave Erlandson $2000; the company received $19.4 billion in military contracts in 2005.
MTS Systems' PAC, a peripheral defense contractor that makes sensor equipment, donated $500, as did a PAC at Parsons Corporation, a firm that won a $900 million Iraq contract--although they couldn't fulfill it:
For example, a $243 million contract held by the Parsons Corporation for the construction of 150 health care centers was cancelled after more than two years of work and $186 million yielded just six centers, only two of which are serving patients. Parsons was also dropped from two different contracts to build prisons, one in Mosul and the other in Nasiriyah.True, these donations don't add up to much monetarily, but they do add up morally: while Erlandson airs his opinions about the Bush administration's "incompetent" handling of Iraq, how can he accept money from some of the profiteers and bunglers involved with it? Kind of hurts his peace cred, doesn't it? Or As Charley Underwood asks on the Minneapolis Issues Forum:
If Mike truly believes in peace and truly wants to end the war, why is he accepting contributions from these war profiteers and merchants of death?