February 19, 2020

Prior to joining the Trump administration, Defense Secretary Mark Esper spent years as Raytheon’s top lobbyist.  Esper has also refused to commit to recuse from matters related to Raytheon or to commit to not rejoining the company after leaving government. Now that Esper leads the Department of Defense, this glaring conflict of interest leaves too much room to question whether he’s putting the public’s interests first, or Raytheon’s. 

CREW has requested records from the Department of Defense concerning any communication Esper has had with or concerning Raytheon.

Secretary Esper’s position of power can be directly used to affect Raytheon’s financial position. Immediately following the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani by American military forces on January 3, for example, Raytheon’s stock skyrocketed and closed at a record high. Raytheon was already doing billions of dollars worth of business with the government every year, but with Secretary Esper now signing off on decisions that prove to be this profitable for the company he previously worked for, the public deserves to know whether he still communicates with or about Raytheon. 

CREW has brought light to Esper’s conflict before, and by seeking these records, CREW will be able to better gauge the extent to which Secretary Esper is influenced by his past work with Raytheon. The American public deserves to know whether their Department of Defense is being overseen by a defense secretary more committed to benefiting his past employer than protecting the American public.

Read the request here.