Today's D Brief: Bankrolling election objectors; Russian tycoon nabbed; Rush to hypersonics?; A Few Good Snow Days; And a bit more.
Which defense contractors are bankrolling election objectors in Congress? Boeing leads the way (with $346,500 in 2021), and not just among defense contractors, but among all 717 corporations and industry groups who have donated money to the 147 Republican lawmakers who cited baseless claims of fraud and refused to certify the 2020 presidential election results, according to a new report from the government monitoring group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics. Donations to these election objectors (CREW uses the term “Sedition Caucus”) totaled more $18 million. Other findings include:
- General Dynamics ranked fourth overall, behind Koch Industries and American Crystal Sugar, with $161,000 in donations to 51 of the lawmakers.
- Lockheed Martin sent $145,000 to 72 of them.
- And Raytheon gave $120,500 to 47 of them.
FWIW: “Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon had all pledged to not donate to members who didn’t support democracy or publicly ‘paused’ their giving,” CREW says in its report, “but together, their donations have exceeded half a million dollars.” Read over the full report, here.
Still, corporate donations to election objectors are way down. “A complete review of Federal Election Commission filings in 2021 and 2019 by Popular Information reveals that, since January 6, corporate PAC contributions to Republican objectors have plummeted by nearly two-thirds,” reports Judd Legum. Read on, here (it’s on Substack; click “Let me read it first”).
Related reading: “Republicans and Democrats have split over whether to support multiethnic democracy, our research shows,” political scientists Lilliana Mason, Julie Wronski, and John Kane wrote in the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog on Monday.
From Defense One
Why Do US Hypersonic Missile Tests Keep Failing? They’re Going Too Fast // Joshua Pollack: If it’s so important to deploy these new missile types, development schedules should be revised to promote success.
Russia’s Aggression Against Ukraine Is Backfiring // Kori Schake, The Atlantic: Putin’s military moves are rallying Ukrainians and unifying NATO.
No One in Kyiv Knows Whether Russia Is Bluffing // Anne Applebaum, The Atlantic: Putin is right about one thing: A free, prosperous Ukraine is a threat to his autocratic regime.
Welcome to this Tuesday edition of The D Brief, brought to you by Ben Watson, with Bradley Peniston and Jennifer Hlad. If you’re not already subscribed to The D Brief, you can do that here. On this day in 1989, two U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcats shot down two Libyan MiG-23s over the Mediterranean Sea, about 40 miles off Libya’s northeastern coast.
NATO ambassadors and Russian officials will meet on Friday concerning developments around Ukraine, the alliance announced Tuesday from Brussels.
That meeting comes ahead of scheduled U.S.-Russia talks on Jan. 10 in Geneva, and a later meeting of the NATO-Russia Council on Jan. 12 in Brussels again. The next day, European, U.S., and Russian officials will meet again in Vienna under the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Reuters has a tiny bit more on all that, here.
The U.S. has captured a “Kremlin insider” and Russian tech tycoon named Vladislav Klyushin, Bloomberg reported Monday, about two and a half weeks after he was extradited from Switzerland. Klyushin, 41, was officially brought to the U.S. on insider trading charges after allegedly netting millions off of hacked corporate-earnings data.
Why this matters: “His transfer to the U.S. represents a serious intelligence blow to the Kremlin, several of the people said, one that would deepen if Klyushin decides to seek leniency from U.S. prosecutors by providing information about Moscow’s inner workings.”
Especially strange: He “missed a final chance to appeal his extradition” in Switzerland, which Bloomberg reports is “an omission that baffled many observers in Moscow.”
The latest: “Klyushin appeared for his arraignment in Boston federal court on Monday via video link from lockup, wearing a white T-shirt and speaking through an interpreter,” but the case was postponed until Wednesday. More, here.
Beijing’s top arms controller insists China is not “dramatically expanding” its nuclear capabilities, despite recent reporting that suggests otherwise, including from the Pentagon in November (PDF). The remarks come from China’s Fu Cong, who is in charge of the Foreign Ministry’s arms control department.
“On the assertions made by U.S. officials that China is expanding dramatically its nuclear capabilities, first, let me say that this is untrue,” he told reporters Tuesday in Beijing.
Referring to Russia and the U.S., he continued, “the two superpowers need to…drastically reduce their nuclear capabilities to a level comparable to the level of China, and for that matter to the level of France and the U.K., so that other nuclear states can join in this process.” The Associated Press has more, here.
Two more explosive drones were shot down in Iraq on Tuesday, one day after a similar episode in Baghdad. Tuesday’s drones targeted the Ain al-Asad air base, and Reuters has photos of the aftermath here.
Update: Airmen and Guardians can get a four-hour pass to get their booster shot, the Dayton Daily News reported Sunday. That lines up with guidance from the Office of Personnel Management, which is allowing federal employees to take up to four hours of leave to get boosted.
And lastly today: Because it’s been another snow day for folks in the D.C. area, here’s a great two-minute Marine Corps video parodying “A Few Good Men,” but with a slight twist. It comes from the Twitter account of Marine Maj. Ken Kunze, communication strategy and operations director for the Okinawa-based 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, in Japan.
Our favorite riff here concerns the odd noises and words Marines make “when not knowing what else to say to each other at the end of a conversation,” as Col. Jessup’s stand-in explains in indignation. Catch the full exchange in two videos—part one here, and part two here.