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Corruption Chronicles

$3 Billion Military Jet Engine Will Never Be Used

In an abhorrent waste of public resources, Congress has allocated billions of dollars for a useless backup military jet engine long rejected by the Pentagon because the manufacturers have plants in states represented by the lawmakers who earmark the money.

The scandal involves the unnecessary and grossly overpriced alternate engine—that will never be used—for the Joint Striker Fighter, which operates wonderfully with its current engine. Despite ardent bipartisan opposition, Congress has allocated more than $3 billion for the extra engine in the last few years via earmarks by lawmakers who caved into special interests.

Just last week, the House approved an additional $485 million earmark for the fraud-infested program in a monstrous $567 billion defense appropriations bill. An additional $2.9 million will be needed to complete the pointless engine, according to those with a financial interest in it. The Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps have consistently rejected the extra engine for the Joint Strike Fighter and so has Defense Secretary Robert Gates. In fact, Gates has repeatedly called for a veto of any legislation that funds the wasteful project.

But the money keeps pouring in because the companies manufacturing the device—General Electric and Rolls Royce—have traded favors with their representatives in Congress. General Electric Aviation is based in Cincinnati so the Ohio delegation backs the funding and Indiana’s congressional delegation supports it because Rolls Royce owns Indianapolis’ Allison Engineering.

One newspaper editorial sums the scandal up by writing that the “House has allowed political interests to override the nation’s economic and security interests.”


 


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