Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has taken an aggressive stance toward a Massachusetts-based defense contractor Raytheon, a company she used to have a cozy relationship with prior to the launch of her campaign.
But despite Warren’s recent change of heart toward Raytheon, the Massachusetts senator won’t say whether she’ll return contributions her presidential campaign has received from Raytheon vice president of communications Pamela Wickham, who has contributed a total of $1,750 to Warren’s campaign since the beginning of 2019, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Warren has previously sworn off contributions from entire industries that don’t align with her policy platform. She pledged in January to refuse contributions from any executives who work in the fossil fuel industry.
But Warren’s campaign didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation asking whether she will apply that standard to the defense industry and return Wickham’s contributions.
During her first run for Senate in 2012, Warren reportedly made efforts to build bridges with Raytheon, which at the time was the largest single employer in Massachusetts. She had a “good, in-depth conversation” with the contractor’s CEO during her campaign, an aide told The Boston Globe.
As a member of the Armed Services Committee, Warren played a critical role in securing defense funding for Massachusetts as late as 2017, when she helped secure $138.5 million in defense projects in the state, The Daily Beast reported.
Other defense contractors with operations in Massachusetts spoke highly of Warren prior to her presidential run. One contractor, General Dynamics, said Warren was a “crucial” ally in the Senate in 2013 for her help preserving funding for military projects in the state.
“There’s certainly not an impression that she’s adversarial,” an unnamed defense executive told Politico of Warren in 2015. “The folks that work in our industry are just as much her constituents as anybody else is.”
And while Raytheon told The Beast on Thursday it retains a “positive working relationship” with Warren, the Democrat has set her sights on the company since launching her presidential campaign. (RELATED: Obama Alums Attack Warren Ahead Of Democratic Debate)
Warren hammered Defense Secretary Mark Esper during his confirmation hearings about his ties with Raytheon, saying his leadership role in the contractor’s lobbying operations raised a “serious ethical concerns” about his nomination.
I’m troubled by Esper’s unwillingness to fully address his conflicts of interest & urge him to reconsider. https://t.co/POZX4Qx9TQ
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) July 15, 2019
Warren has also come out against Raytheon’s proposed merger with United Technologies. Her campaign told The Beast the merger would “stifle competition and innovation” in the defense industry and increase “corporate capture of the Pentagon.”
Warren’s campaign said the senator’s recent hostility toward the defense industry mirrors the approach she’s taken since becoming a senator.
“Continuing her work in the Senate, Elizabeth will fight to end the intense coziness between defense contractors and the Pentagon as president,” her campaign spokeswoman told The Beast. “She has a plan to end the influence of defense contractors so we can start making deep cuts to our bloated defense budget.”
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