Progressive stars are headlining a conference organized by a Democratic-aligned think tank — with Palantir and Lockheed as key sponsors.

by Eli Clifton, The Intercept

Progressives Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow are outspoken critics of the bloated defense budget and the MAGA wing of the Republican Party. Next month, though, both Raskin and Maddow will headline an event sponsored by defense industry giant Lockheed Martin and Palantir, a $26 billion defense contractor founded and chaired by Peter Thiel, the polarizing billionaire and megadonor to Donald Trump.

The appearances by Raskin and Maddow will come as part of TruCon, the conference of the Democratic Party-aligned Truman Center, which runs from June 1 to 4 in Washington, D.C. TruCon’s website describes the conference as an opportunity to see “[t]hought leaders across government, policy, and national security fields speak on the most pressing issues facing America today.”

MSNBC TV pundits Rachel Maddow and David Gregory speak during a live broadcast from the 2008 Democratic National Convention

For Mark Thompson, a national security analyst at the Project on Government Oversight, the big question for Raskin and Maddow at the conference will be whether they hold their tough positions against defense contractors. If they don’t speak out, Thompson said, it would indicate that sponsors can buy the silence of their outspoken critics.

“If I were Jamie Raskin or I were Rachel Maddow — what a great opportunity to name these companies and say where they’re coming up short,” said Thompson. “Do you, a company, buy my silence or tacit silence by sponsoring this event? Obviously, the real test of integrity is to argue with folks you disagree with, not to cover your eyes and ears and look away.”

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