Defense contractors paid too much, senator says

Sen. Bernie Sanders is asking Defense Secretary James Mattis to rein in excessive compensation of defense contractors and address the misconduct and fraud in the defense contracting industry.

The Vermont Democratic senator, who is a ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, said about half of the Pentagon's $700 billion annual budget goes directly to private contractors. He noted that in 2017, the CEOs of Lockheed Martin and Raytheon– were each paid more than $20 million in total compensation, accounting for than 90 percent of those companies' revenue.

"What kind of message does it send when a defense contractor is paid 100 times more than the secretary of defense?" Sanders wrote in the letter dated March 14 to Mattis, adding that paying exorbitant salaries to defense contractor CEOs  “is simply unacceptable."

“I think the American people would like to know why a defense contractor can pay its CEO over $20 million while your salary is capped at $205,700 and other members of the military are paid far less,” he continued.

He said more accountability is needed among those DoD employees who oversee such contracts.

Meanwhile, while these contractors are making significant profits from the federal government, nearly every major defense contractor in the past 20 years has paid millions of dollars in fines and settlements for misconduct and fraud, according to the lawmaker.

Without a specific deadline, the letter asked Mattis to Sanders  a letter with recommendations for improvements on the issues cited.

Reader comments

Wed, Mar 21, 2018

I'm not sure where people get this idea that contractors are loving fat and happy. Sure I made 120k a year in Afghanistan, but after taxes, forced insurance, 14 hour work weeks, I was making less than what I made as an Marine E6. Stateside, I made the same as an entry level federal employee but with no job security, benefits, or a pension. I have since gone federal, but now receive emails asking me to deploy to combat zones to work 72 hours a week for the princely sum of 80k a year, lol no thanks. Contractor pay is sad unless you're a program manager or something. Much of the military and fed workforce and poiticians who hate on contractors were never contractors themselves or else they'd know better.

Wed, Mar 21, 2018

I don't particularly care for Sen. Sanders, but this is one time I do. He is absolutely correct, but the problem is: until Congress passes rules and regulations AGAINST the contractors, our hands are tied. I am a Government auditor and I can tell you, the current rules and regulations are written for the contractors and not the Government. The Government does not save money employing Contractors. Government "management" have tried to sell that point for years by saying that the Government doesn't have to pay for leave, part of health insurance, etc., but that's not true. The Government would make out cheaper hiring more military and civilian personnel.

Wed, Mar 21, 2018

Good point here. Contractors are paid insane cash. By the way, Senators represent millions of people and so it is a good point about comparing their salaries to a CEO's.

Tue, Mar 20, 2018

Beltway bandits at their very best. Not saying that many contract employees do great work to assist in the mission of the organization, drain the swamp and lower overhead costs. Farming out work in the long run is not cost-effective and the turn over of contract staff paid poor wages and benefits does have a negative impact on the goals of an organization. You donot need to pay for dozens of sr vice presidents and management minions.

Mon, Mar 19, 2018 D.E. Ogden, UT

WTF!? Ludicrous & assinine! The Trumpster and the rest of Congress needs to get on board! Let's shift much of that money back to paying Federal Employees for the work they do, instead of constantly taking weak & cheap shots at attacking FED benefits, salaries and raises. Seems there is more than enough to give all FEDs at least a 10 percent raise next year, eh? And can you believe the hypocrite (Trump) had the audacity to comment on family values (State of Union). Seems the biggest snake in the swamp has arrived. Hey there Mr. President -- federal employees DO have families, as well!

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