Independent ethics watchdogs urged members of Congress this week to probe why President Trump’s Air Force secretary nominee, former Rep. Heather Wilson, was paid by nuclear weapon contractors to do consulting work for which she refused to provide a detailed accounting.
Wilson, a Republican who represented New Mexico in Congress from 1998 until 2009, faces potentially robust questioning on Thursday March 30 at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
In separate letters to McCain and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., the ranking Democrat on the committee, the public-interest nonprofit Project on Government Oversight [POGO] and a consortium of three ethics organizations from across the political spectrum – the National Legal and Policy Center, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Public Citizen – encouraged the committee to question Wilson about her contracts with the weapons firms she’ll help oversee if confirmed.
Both letters cited a series of reports published in February by the Center for Public Integrity as a basis for their questions about Wilson’s nomination. The Center’s reports were based on federal records, many obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, that detail internal Department of Energy concerns about Wilson’s refusal to report in writing to three nuclear weapons laboratories how she was spending her time in return for payments totaling $20,000 a month.