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Hillary’s Friendly Skies: Air Lockheed

Military-industrial complexities for senator.

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Has former lefty pinup Hillary Clinton become the senator from Lockheed Martin? According to the senator’s travel-expense forms, unearthed by the Center for Public Integrity, the senator and her aides have taken free rides on a Lockheed-owned private plane at least five times since 2001. The Lockheed jet isn’t exactly Air Force One, but it certainly has saved time and airfare costs during the Armed Services Committee member’s successful efforts to get Lockheed defense contracts, notably a $1.7 billion, 750-job deal to build presidential helicopters up in Owego (population 3,911), near Binghamton. Last year, Lockheed’s PAC gave Clinton the maximum $5,000 donation, a first since Clinton became senator, but its generosity didn’t start there. In July 2004, Clinton and her personal aide, Huma Abedin, boarded a Lockheed jet at Dulles and zipped up to Troy for the day with the Italian ambassador to the U.S., Sergio Vento, for the first-ever New York State Little Italy Heritage Tourism Conference. After the full-day affair, Clinton zipped back down to Teterboro, New Jersey, on Lockheed’s jet. The trip, labeled on disclosure forms as a “speaking engagement,” was paid for by Lockheed, even though Senate ethics rules mandate that a primary sponsor of the event pony up. Jennifer Hanley, a Clinton rep, insists no ethical breaches were made, explaining that Clinton and Lockheed share the same goal—bringing jobs upstate—and that Lockheed’s free lift to Troy was made in that spirit.

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