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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - May 19, 2003

Wilson’s record on defense and veterans
Congress to vote on Defense Authorization Act

ALBUQUERQUE - Congresswoman Heather Wilson on Monday said that Congress is set to vote on the Defense Authorization Act this week. Wilson, who worked on the legislation, voted to cut veterans benefits by $11 billion, encouraged further development of the nation’s nuclear arsenal and has received close to a quarter of a million dollars in campaign contributions from defense contractors.

The $11 billion cut to Veteran’s programs was approved by Wilson in the 2004 Congressional Budget Resolution, and comes at a time when Wilson voted to channel hundreds of millions of dollars to defense contractors. According to a published economic analysis, the same budget would weaken local police and security response in New Mexico by cutting $16 million.

New Mexicans for Political Accountability spokesman Travis Green said that Veterans in New Mexico should be enraged by the votes of Wilson. “Veterans thought they had a powerful ally in Congress, instead they have a Congresswoman who cuts benefits and answers to defense contractors not soldiers,” he said. This is just one more example of Wilson's masterful spin - she takes credit for being a friend to our armed forces through press releases in New Mexico, while she votes to gut their benefits in Washington.

Defense contractors contributed $87,000 to Wilson’s reelection campaign in 2002. Over the last five years she has taken close to a quarter of a million dollars from the contractors, according to The Center for Responsive Politics. Based on the numbers, this makes Wilson the seventh largest recipient of contributions from defense contractors (in both the House and Senate.)

In late April 2003, New Mexicans for Political Accountability (the parent group of WilsonWatch) requested that the Congresswoman return the contributions in a letter. “We believe it is inappropriate for you to accept money when you are in a position to influence and regulate decisions regarding national security and foreign affairs. For any leader in your position to be accepting sizable contributions from defense contractors at this time is concerning and, for New Mexico, embarrassing,” NMPA spokesman Travis Green wrote.

Wilson’s Campaign Headquarters promised a response to the request. To date, Wilson’s office has not responded.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Travis Green - green@wilsonwatch.org

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