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Defense Industry Gave More Cash to Lawmakers Voting to Arm the Syrian Rebels Fighting ISIS

The House of Representatives on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014, approved an amendment from Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-Calif.) to authorize one plank of President Obama's strategy for combating the Islamic State. The amendment would let the Obama administration provide weapons, training, and other forms of assistance to soldiers in Syria who are fighting against militant groups in the region including the Islamic State and the Bashar al-Assad regime.

Free Syrian Army Rebels

  • Representatives voting YES on the McKeon amendment have received, on average, 56 percent more money from the defense industry than representatives voting NO.

  • House Democrats voting YES on the McKeon amendment have received, on average, 60 percent more money from the defense industry than House Democrats voting NO.

  • Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has received $350,600 from the defense industry, more than any other member of the House of Representatives.

  • Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon's (R-Calif.) top three donor organizations are defense companies General Atomics($31,150), Northrop Grumman ($28,700), and General Dynamics ($25,500).

Several defense companies that are likely to benefit from expanding military activities to fight the Islamic State are top spenders on federal lobbying.

  • Northrop Grumman, maker of the Global Hawk surveillance drone, has spent $108 million on lobbying the federal government since 2008.

  • Lockheed Martin, maker of the Hellfire missile, has spent $93 million on lobbying the federal government since 2008.

  • Raytheon, maker of the Tomahawk missile, has spent $45 million on lobbying the federal government since 2008.

Contributions methodology: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions from PACs and employees of Defense aerospace contractors, Defense electronics contractors, Defense shipbuilders, Defense-related services, Ground-based & other weapons systems, Defense Research & Development, Defense, and Homeland Security Contractors to members of the House of Representatives, from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2013. Contributions data source:

Lobbying methodology: MapLight analysis of lobbying disclosure filings from the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. Lobbying totals represent money paid by an organization to each lobbying firm for services on all issues. Organizations report total lobbying expenses as a lump sum, which includes both in-house lobbying expenses and amounts paid to (and reported by) lobbying firms that they employ. MapLight calculates a given organization's in-house lobbying expenses by subtracting the total income reported by the lobbying firms that it employs from the company's total reported expenses. In general, filers may round their spending and expenses to the nearest $10,000, and we treat the designation of "Less than $5,000" as a value of $0. MapLight updates its lobbying database daily to capture amendments. Full reports are due on the 20th day of January, April, July, and October.

© Copyright MapLightNational Law Review, Volume IV, Number 261


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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...