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The Campaign Contributions Behind the World's Most Expensive Weapon

Lockheed Martin's F-35 jet, the most expensive weapons project ever, has received federal appropriations from Congress year after year despite a string of technical problems and repeated failures to deliver functioning planes on time and within budget. Just last week, the current F-35 fleet was grounded due to engine fires. The project is now expected to cost $396 billion by the time it is completed.

Lockheed Martin, maker of the F-35, has given $12.4 million to members of Congress (Senate and House of Representatives) from January 1, 2001 - December 31, 2013.

On July 17, 2014, by unanimous voice vote, Senate appropriators approved more funding for procurement of the F-35 for fiscal year 2015. The Department of Defense appropriations bill that includes the funds will now get a vote on the Senate floor.

  • Current members of Congress (Senate and House of Representatives) have received $8.1 million from Lockheed Martin from January 1, 2001 - December 31, 2013.
  • Current members of Senate have received $1.5 million from Lockheed Martin from January 1, 2001 - December 31, 2013.
  • Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chair of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, has received $74,200 from Lockheed Martin from January 1, 2001 - December 31, 2013, 4.8 times as much as the average for a U.S. Senator ($15,382). His committee originates the annual Senate legislation that funds the F-35 procurement program.
  • Current members of House have received $6.5 million from Lockheed Martin from January 1, 2001 - December 31, 2013.
  • Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), Chair of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, has received$66,500 from Lockheed Martin from January 1, 2001 - December 31, 2013, 4.4 times as much as the average for a U.S. Representative ($15,072). His committee originates the annual House legislation that funds the F-35 procurement program.
  • Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) has received $226,150 from Lockheed Martin from January 1, 2001 - December 31, 2013, more than any other current member of Congress. She is currently the Vice-Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
  • Lockheed Martin contributions to members of Congress (Senate and House of Representatives) since the F-35 contract was first awarded to them in 2001.

Methodology: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions from PACs and employees of Lockheed Martin to current and past members of Congress, from January 1, 2001 to December 31, 2013.

Contributions data source: OpenSecrets.org Image: defenseimagery.mil/Wikimedia Commons

© Copyright MapLightNational Law Review, Volume IV, Number 202
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About this Author

Maplight non profit revealing moneys influence on politics, equal voice in our democracy

MapLight is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, research organization that reveals money's influence on politics.

Elected officials collect large sums of money to run their campaigns, and they often pay back campaign contributors with special access and favorable laws. This common practice is contrary to the public interest, yet legal.

MapLight connects data on campaign contributions, politicians, votes, industries, companies, and more to show patterns of influence that could never be seen before. 

We are a nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that reveals the influence...

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