Deeds Solicited Defense Companies for Funds
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
When Virginia gubernatorial candidate R. Creigh Deeds attacked rival Brian Moran over the weekend for accepting donations from "tainted" defense contractors, he did not say that he had asked at least two defense companies for money and was turned down.
As recently as Friday, Deeds phoned John Braun, chairman of the Falls Church-based aerospace contractor Dynamis Inc., and asked for support, Braun said. Last summer, Deeds asked Braun for $50,000.
Deeds also solicited Alexandria-based BriarTek, which manufactures marine safety gear for the Navy, according to one of the firm's partners, Joe Landa.
Both defense contractors or their principals have contributed to Moran's campaign for governor. Both have also contributed to his older brother, U.S. Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.). And both are awaiting approval of multimillion-dollar federal earmarks supported by the elder Moran, an influential member of the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense.
Deeds homed in on those facts, which were the subject of a Washington Post article last week, at a political debate Sunday in Williamsburg among Deeds, Moran and Terry McAuliffe, who are all seeking the Democratic nomination for governor June 9.
"It's unconscionable and hypocritical," Moran campaign manager Andrew Roos said. "He's trying to score political points attacking Brian Moran for taking this money from Northern Virginia businesses, calling it tainted and, at virtually the same time, trying to raise money from those same sources."
Deeds said yesterday that he was referring primarily to donations the Moran brothers have accepted from the lobbying firm Paul Magliocchetti Associates. The firm represented a number of smaller defense contractors and steered millions of dollars in contributions to the Morans and other congressional leaders from PMA employees and its earmark-seeking clients.
The firm, which closed earlier this year after the FBI raided its offices, is also the subject of a federal investigation into contributions from people listed in campaign finance reports with PMA affiliations but with no obvious connection to the firm.
Deeds noted that other congressional leaders have returned PMA-related contributions. He also noted an important difference between his solicitation of defense contracting dollars and Moran's: "I don't have a brother in Congress they have business before."
"I just think it says a lot about this campaign," Deeds said. "The phrase I used yesterday was 'tainted' defense contractors. Not 'all' defense contractors. That's a great industry in our commonwealth."
Not everyone was convinced. Braun, the donor with Dynamis Inc., said he was "stunned" when Deeds called him Friday.
"I really was somewhat astounded by it," said Braun, who lives in Falls Church and has also contributed to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D). "The interesting thing about it is that the vast majority of us are from the military, former government employees, very high security clearances, very honorable people who have spent the better part of their lives serving their country."