house of representatives
Katie Porter Brings Receipts in Epic Takedown of Defense Contractor Exec for Swindling DoD and Taxpayers
Democratic Congresswoman Katie Porter of California swiftly built up a reputation in Congress for her incisive and relentless questioning of CEOs across an array of industries. In any committee hearing where she brandishes her famous whiteboard, the subject of her questions should expect to squirm.
Such was the case this past week, when Porter interrogated Nicholas Howley, Executive Chairman of the defense company TransDigm Group, during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing.
An audit by the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General found evidence that TransDigm was price-gouging the Department, citing tens of millions of dollars in excess profits. TransDigm would acquire companies used by the Military as the only source for certain spare parts before raising the prices dramatically.
Porter particularly focused on an email sent by one of TransDigm's salespeople, grilling Howley for comment on its contents.
In an internal email, a salesperson for TransDigm—a defense contractor—bragged about "being full of B.S." but still making a deal that ripped off taxpayers. Today, I confronted TransDigm's Executive Chairman about the company's price gouging. His response? No comment. pic.twitter.com/6uF0ONwL2Q
— Rep. Katie Porter (@RepKatiePorter) January 19, 2022
The salesperson bragged in the email:
"We didn't give up a dime. I'm just full of BS and they took the bait."
Porter then added context:
"That is your salespeople talking about a deal that they just mad ewith the military for jet engine parts in 2018. ... Your salesperson said, 'I'm just full of BS, and they'—['they'] being the DoD and taxpayers—'took the bait.'"
The Congresswoman proceeded to grill Howley on whether TransDigm has a code of business ethics and conduct, which he confirmed it does. He also confirmed that the code requires some form of "fair dealing."
After these confirmations, Porter went in for the kill:
"Do you think it's fair dealing to be full of bull s***t and get the taxpayers to take the bait?"
Howley said he knew very little about the situation and wouldn't comment. Porter then pointed out that Howley is paid $68 million per year as the Executive Chairman of TransDigm—more than 200 times the typical salary of a Fortune100 company board member.
"For $68 million, you need to enforce your company's code of business ethics."
People once again praised Porter for putting profiteers' feet to the fire.
I was happy to be able to vote for Katie for Congress and I’d be ecstatic to cast my vote for her as President of the United States. https://t.co/hYa1Tyivr5
— Pippi (@SusanPippi) January 21, 2022
And there you have it. I love Katie Porter. https://t.co/qgoyB1XvwX
— Joanna Baker (@jojolbaker) January 21, 2022
Great Job by Rep. Katie Porter.
Again, pointing out corruption by another defense contractor. Wonderful to have a great #Democrats working hard to defend us against this greed driven corporations. #fridaymorning #veterans #Police https://t.co/J3gBApdgwU
— P CADFAEL (@PCadfael) January 21, 2022
I just LOVE @RepKatiePorter ! She's keeping her word on Responsibility. We need more like her. https://t.co/v8QFxdENFD
— SoCal Redhead🌊 watch your feet I step on toes! (@VLF79) January 19, 2022
my representative, she kicks ass every time! https://t.co/YFiNbI0CC4
— Beto Esteves (@BetoEsteves2) January 21, 2022
Gotta love Katie. These ppl are piles of mush when she's through with them. https://t.co/gHGudmMyHq
— Tamilyn Simard Get Vaccinated💉 (@simardswellness) January 21, 2022
And they joined her in decrying TransDigm's practices.
All the scum floating to the surface. https://t.co/DNNVpeydXE
— Lowrent Hoebreath needs an inmate ID# (@Toffifay76) January 21, 2022
This is what defenders of expanding Pentagon budgets are defending 👇 https://t.co/VIl4v0Fv5V
— Elizabeth Beavers (@_ElizabethRB) January 20, 2022
Company executives are so awful at responding to this type of attack.
Frankly, he could have done much better and avoided looking like a sneaky fraudster.
If you make $68 million a year you should be more capable. https://t.co/tZ8uqcC2ze
— Michael J. Stern (@MichaelJStern1) January 21, 2022
While the Defense Department's audit didn't find a smoking gun of criminal offenses by TransDigm, it has requested a voluntary refund of at least $20.8 million.