Presidential Shilling


The Washington Post has obtained a Pentagon inspector general report that finds the award of a $50 million Air Force contract was “tainted with improper influence, irregular procurement practices, and preferential treatment.”

In many respects, it’s just the usual sort of bid-rigging, contract favoring, and inside-dealing that the Pentagon is notorious for. But one thing in particular jumps out.

Among the high-ranking Air Force officials pushing for awarding the contract to a well-connected company called SMS, formed for the purpose of securing this particular contract, according to the Post, was Air Force Maj. Gen. Stephen M. Goldfein:

Goldfein, who is now the vice director of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, was found to have gone to great lengths to see the contract awarded to SMS, while senior Air Force leaders socialized with the company’s partners. According to the report, Goldfein even arranged for President Bush to videotape a testimonial in the White House Map Room that was included in the SMS contract proposal as a demonstration of the company’s credibility and access.

The President videotaping testimonials for government contractors? Is this commonplace in the Bush White House? Can we find out more about that? Inquiring minds want to know.


David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.