Last November, RedState broke the story that former presidential candidate and Rep. Ron Paul, as well as a wealth of Ron and Sen. Rand Paul associates, were participating in an op-ed advocacy campaign boosting the interests of a big defense contractor that heavily relies on Russian parts and services in order to operate.
Now, in the latest twist of that story, it appears that campaign is continuing, with a former Students for Rand figure authoring an op-ed accusing an upstart entrant to the space industry of “cronyism” to the apparent benefit of that same big defense contractor, and the country on whose defense industry it relies: Russia.
Andrew Wilford, whose LinkedIn profile touts his involvement in Students for Rand, authored the op-ed which attacks SpaceX, a new player in the realm of space exploration.
SpaceX happens to be the major competitor to United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, which prior to SpaceX’s entry to the space race, had a total monopoly on space-related defense contracts.
ULA is paid over $800 million a year simply to exist. SpaceX and fellow upstart entrants including Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin are not paid a fee to exist, and are only paid for launches they perform.
ULA has bristled at competition from both companies, going so far as to sit out one bidding process as a sort of “protest” against competition.
The op-eds identified by RedState in 2017 similarly attack SpaceX and function to boost ULA, which relies on Russian-made rocket engines and holds contracts for Russian-services launches of U.S. astronauts into space.
Currently, the U.S.’ only mechanism for getting astronauts to the International Space Station is ULA, via those Russian launches. Arguably, the more the U.S. relies on ULA, the more U.S. taxpayer money is being directed to Russia, money which in turn is being used to finance Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggressive actions in former Soviet territories and intelligence activities throughout the Western world.
It is unclear why former Rep. Paul, and associates of both Ron and Rand Paul, are so invested in doing the bidding of ULA in attacking its chief competitor.
One theory is that despite both men’s libertarian credentials, which typically pit them against defense contractors, money is in fact flowing through a Ron Paul-controlled non-profit to finance the advocacy campaign. The source of any such money could be ULA itself, or it could be Russian interests.
In any event, the Paul-driven effort to attack competition and boost a former monopolist with a stranglehold on defense contracting continues.