Fox Gave Defense Lobbyist An Undisclosed Platform To Slam Obama On Client's Behalf
Guest Attacked Obama For Not Letting Company His Firm Represents Sell Drone To Jordan
Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS
Fox hosted Republican lobbyist Van D. Hipp Jr., who attacked the Obama administration for denying a request to market drones to the Kingdom of Jordan. Neither Fox nor Hipp disclosed that his firm, American Defense International (ADI), has recently lobbied Congress on behalf of the defense contractor that makes the drone.
Hipp is the Chairman of American Defense International (ADI), which describes itself as "a Washington, DC based consulting firm specializing in government affairs, business development and public relations." General Atomics is a defense contractor based in San Diego. ADI lists General Atomics as one of its clients on its website; the lobbying shop has received $1.2 million from the company dating back to 2002, including $170,000 last year.
Hipp, a former chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party and Principal Deputy General Counsel of the Navy in the George H.W. Bush administration, appeared on The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson on February 6. Hipp discussed the possible death of an American hostage being held by ISIS, who claims that the hostage was killed by a Jordanian airstrike.
Without prompting, Hipp repeatedly attacked President Obama for denying an application for his client, while couching it in criticism of ongoing efforts to fight ISIS.
Hipp said, "We need to make sure he's [King Abdullah of Jordan] got all the fuel and bullets, precision weapons and yes, unmanned aerial vehicles which he's asked the United States for and our State Department is still sitting on that." Hipp went on to expand on his criticism of the State Department decision, without any disclosure of Hipp's financial conflict of interest.
JAMIE COLBY: If we were to reach out to Jordan, what would be the steps, specifically, you think we could take that maybe would even encourage our allies to do the same?
VAN HIPP: Well what Congressman Duncan Hunter has pointed out was very disturbing, the fact that Jordan has requested, an unarmed predator, unmanned aerial vehicle to help them, and he has called on President Obama to get the State Department to reverse that decision. I couldn't believe that when I read that, and he's got other requests for precision munitions, night vision systems, devices, you name it. I say: Give him everything he needs and give him everything he needs now. And let's acknowledge the threat for what it is.
COLBY: Van Hipp, your message is loud and clear and heard and I appreciate you sharing it with us.
The company that would provide the drone Hipp referenced is his lobbying firm's client.
As Foreign Policy reported on February 5, "The Obama administration has denied a request from a leading U.S. defense contractor for a license to market its unarmed Predator drones to Jordan, whose requests for U.S.-made weapons are viewed as more urgent due to its participation in the fight against the Islamic State. The contractor, General Atomics, submitted export license applications last spring to market the Predator XP, a new export version of the unarmed MQ-1 drone flown by the U.S. military, to Jordan and numerous other countries. The U.S. government formally denied the request for Jordan on Oct. 28, according to the office of Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Republican whose district includes San Diego, where General Atomics is based."
The Lobbying Disclosure Act Database lists ADI as a registered lobbyist on behalf of General Atomics, dating from 2002 through their most recent filing on January 20. For 2014, ADI reported doing $170,000 of lobbying on behalf of General Atomics. (First Quarter, Second Quarter, Third Quarter, Fourth Quarter). The firm's most recent lobbying report states it was paid by General Atomics for "Meetings with officials regarding foreign weapon sales." ADI has received $1.2 million in lobbing fees from General Atomics since 2002, according to OpenSecrets.org's database of federal lobbying data.
Hipp has personally lobbied for General Atomics, most recently in 2007, according to OpenSecrets' database.