Washington, D.C. – The following is a written statement by Keith Ashdown, Vice-President of Policy at Taxpayers for Common Sense following the House Armed Service Committee hearing on the leasing of Boeing’s K-767 refueling tankers:
The Air Force has used a combination of smoke and mirrors and fuzzy math to lowball the true costs of the tanker lease. When the smoke clears, taxpayers will be stuck with a bill that is billions more than the Air Force is publicly advertising. The deeper you dig into this trash heap of a deal, the smellier it gets.
Today the Air Force admitted that the cost of leasing and eventually purchasing these tankers is much higher than they previously acknowledged. For months, the Air Force has been stating that the tanker lease will cost $138 million per unit, but according to today’s statements, the cost for 100 tankers is closer to $17 billion and would top $21 billion when the Air Force eventually purchases the tankers. Additional training, maintenance and other associated program costs bump the price tag to $29.8 billion, nearly $9 billion more than the advertised price over the six years.
The more we learn about this lease, the more expensive it gets. This drip, drip, drip release strategy looks out for Boeing’s best interests, at the detriment of U.S. taxpayers and our operations and maintenance accounts. If the Air Force really believes that this lease is in the best interest of our national security and taxpayers then they should release all the documents on the lease and let the cards fall where they may.
The bottom line is that the Air Force is more concerned with Boeing’s profit margins than the taxpayers’ pocket book. The only perceivable benefit of this classic case of corporate welfare will be to prop up the failing commercial aircraft division of one of the largest U.S. defense companies.
Contact: Keith Ashdown
(202) 546-8500 x110