What if anti-Trumpian Democrat hero and current US Senate candidate Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) has been playing one of the biggest long cons on progressive voters seen this century? A recent report sheds new light on how the man who became a toasted celebrity in blue circles and a constant fixture on dominant media television outlets has been using the contentious earmark process to richly reward his defense contractor donors.
Keep in mind that we are dealing here with a voting bloc that, until recently, spent decades deriding the CIA and FBI as dastardly enemies of humanity and then suddenly turned on a dime. These federal agencies are now unblushingly perceived to be stout defenders of “democracy” against Trump and his “insurrectionist” faction. Will pointing out the powerful corporate entities that financially benefit from the war hysteria generated by Schiff’s Russia-gate obsession and vocal advocacy for massive US aid to Ukraine move the needle at all in a party that has seamlessly transitioned into the new neoconservative wing of the Uniparty?
‘Schiff Secured Millions’
Big-box media site Politico published a detailed report on Schiff’s career-long affinity for earmarks. “A close examination of [Schiff’s] record reveals that he secured generous earmarks for corporate beneficiaries early in his career, including at times for recipients who were also major donors to his political campaigns,” the outlet writes. One industry in particular stands out. An accompanying chart shows that Schiff steered more than $12 million in earmarks to five defense contractors who had directly donated to his campaign. The cash flow began almost immediately after he entered the House in 2001. “Schiff secured millions in funding for Smiths Detection and Phasebridge, Inc., defense companies based in his district,” Politico relates. “He steered $6 million to Smiths Detection for military warfare sensors between 2003 and 2006 and earmarked another $3 million to Phasebridge that was developing a radar frequency distribution system for the Navy in 2004.”
Swamp coziness was a hallmark of the process.
“Smiths Detection and Phasebridge both retained PMA Group, a lobbying firm founded and owned by Paul Magliocchetti, a former staffer for the late chair of the powerful House defense appropriations subcommittee, Rep. John Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat,” the article continues. “Between 2004 and 2008, Schiff received $8,500 in contributions from PMA Group PAC and two of Magliochetti’s family members.”
A list of Schiff’s top campaign donors from 1999-2024 posted on the Open Secrets website is also telling. Defense industry giant Raytheon is Schiff’s 11th-largest cash supporter, at $108,579. Northrop Grumman isn’t far behind. It donated a princely $84,572. In all, Schiff has accepted $519,371 from defense industry sources from 1999-2024, Open Secrets states. All while either preparing to run for or serving as a House member. That’s a tidy $20,000+ a year, or more than $40,000 every election cycle.
‘Strong Ties to Weapons Manufacturing Companies’
Why is this never brought up by big-box media platforms when they extol Schiff’s thoroughly disreputable conduct during the Trump-Russia collusion hoax? The information has been out there. The New York Observer reported in March 2017, as Schiff was riding high with his Trump-Russia allegations:
“Schiff has strong ties to weapons manufacturing companies. In 2013, the Raytheon PAC, which is run by the weapons manufacturing company that makes the Patriot missile and other weapons, hosted a fundraiser with Schiff at which Beyonce performed. The suggested contribution for a ticket was $2,500.
“Schiff’s voting record is in line with the military industrial complex; he voted against banning armed forces in Libya without congressional approval, voted against removing US troops from Afghanistan, voted in favor of the Iraq War, voted in favor of arming moderate Syrian opposition rebels, and pushed for the US to arm Ukrainian rebels in defiance of [then-President Barack] Obama’s apprehension to do so. His record [is] more in line with Republican war hawks than the Democratic Party.”
How did it come to be that hatred for Donald Trump and the populist nationalism he represents became so rabid among the so-called anti-war progressive left that it not only embraced a fierce hawk-like Schiff but elevated him to cultural icon status precisely because of actions he performed that helped to enrich his defense contractor financial backers?
War In Ukraine Helps Fight Trump
The Observer notes that Schiff was pushing for substantial military support for Ukraine way back in 2015. Today he is an unabashed champion of the European nation. He even shamelessly weaves Trump-bashing in with his calls to pour US taxpayer money into Ukraine.
“Last year, I traveled to Kyiv with Speaker Nancy Pelosi [D-CA] as part of the first delegation of House members to visit the Ukrainian capital during the war,” Schiff wrote in a May op-ed for The Orange County Register. “Then, and since, I have marveled at the Ukrainian willingness to fight for their democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.”
“In the United States, where our own democracy has been under a different kind of assault, we have another responsibility – to resist our own creeping authoritarianism, to continue the struggle for voting rights and equal rights, to defend our elections and the freedom of the press,” he added. “But the Ukrainian people have been called on to risk their very lives, and the question is now raised for us – should we continue to support them in doing so? My answer is an emphatic yes.”
Major Schiff donors Raytheon and Northrop Grumman could not have asked for a slyer approach in getting progressives to cheer on more pallets of taxpayer dollars coming their way. Adam Schiff knows he can successfully conjure the Trump demon among Democrat voters as he serves his defense industry backers. No better explanation of how the Ukraine aid game works is to be found than the regularly circulated video clip of Julian Assange discussing the same scenario in Afghanistan in 2011.
“The goal is to use Afghanistan to wash money out of the tax bases of the United States, out of the tax bases of European countries, through Afghanistan and back into the hands of a transnational security elite. That is the goal. I.e., the goal is to have an endless war, not a successful war.”
The machinery of war is where the money is made. Representing that machinery on Capitol Hill is how politicians get their share.
The implications of the Adam Schiff long con are terrifying. Toss around murky charges of Russian President Vladimir Putin sneaking into an American voting booth or Donald Trump doing just about anything and it is amazing what you can get progressive urbanites to support these days. There is no reason to believe it will stop at localized wars.