June 10, 2012
Twenty years since the end of the Cold War, the United States spends $31 billion a year on its nuclear arsenal. This costly commitment continues to this day largely because companies that make such weapons spend millions of dollars lobbying key members of Congress.
Nuclear weapons makers have donated more than $18 million to current, key members of Congress by employees of corporations that support the U.S. nuclear weapons program, according to a report from the Center for International Policy.
These defense contractors also have hired nearly 100 former members of Congress or their staff to lobby for government funding.
While lawmakers debated recently whether to finance more submarines and bombers for America’s strategic defense, 14 companies spent $3 million on the reelection campaigns of representatives and senators.
>About $1.5 million was given to members of the six key committees or subcommittees that approve nuclear-arms spending.
The top recipient in the U.S. Senate was Democrat Diane Feinstein of California, who chairs the Intelligence Committee and the appropriations subcommittee that reviews the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons budget. Feinstein has received $74,500 this election and $421,747 over her 20-year career.
Another California lawmaker, Republican Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon, was the top recipient in the U.S. House. The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee has collected $257,750 to date in this election cycle and $809,150 over his 19-year congressional career.
The biggest contributors were Lockheed Martin ($535,000), Honeywell ($464,582), Northrop Grumman ($464,000), and Boeing ($336,750).
To Learn More:
Are Nuclear Weapons Contractors’ Millions in Campaign Contributions Buying Favors? (by R. Jeffrey Smith, iWatch News)
Bombs Versus Budgets: Inside the Nuclear Weapons Lobby (by William Hartung and Christine Anderson, International Policy Report) (pdf)
What do Plastic Bags and Military Contractors Have in Common? One Congressman (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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