Defense, homeland security industries rack up lobbying dollars

Defense firms spent $277 million to lobby the federal government from 1998 through June 2004, including $44 million in 2003 alone, according to a new report.

Northrop Grumman Corp. led the list with $93 million spent on lobbying over the five and a half years, followed by Lockheed Martin Corp., $88.9 million; Raytheon Co., $30.6 million; United Defense Industries Inc., $16.8 million; Alliant Techsystems Inc., $4.8 million; and Thales Inc., $4 million, said the Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit think tank in Washington.

In 2003, 1,615 lobbyists represented 108 defense companies or organizations, the report said. The top lobbying firms representing the industry were Piper Rudnick, the PMA Group, Interpublic Group of Companies Inc.; WPP Group PLC and Van Scoyoc Associates Inc.

The number of homeland security-related companies and organizations that participated in activities to influence federal legislation and policies was even higher. In 2003, there were 490 such companies and organizations lobbying Congress and the executive agencies, employing 2,260 lobbyists, the report said.

Of the companies listing homeland security as an issue in their lobbying-related filings with the Senate Office of Public Records, those with the greatest number of filings from 1998 to 2004 were NCR Corp., with 11 filings; Lockheed Martin, 10 filings; the city of Atlanta, 10 filings; Accenture Ltd., eight filings; and Northrop Grumman, Utah State University and Port of Corpus Christi, Texas., each eight filings.

The report did not include figures for lobbying expenditures for the homeland security industry because its databases currently are not able to separately compile figures for that industry.

Overall, lobbyists have spent nearly $13 billion since 1998 to influence Congress and the federal agencies. That includes $2.4 billion spent in 2003 alone.

Despite the large amounts of money being spent, the system for accounting for spending by lobbyists is "in disarray," the center said.

"Forty-nine of the top 50 lobbying firms failed to file one or more required forms during the last six years," the report said. "Nearly 14,000 documents that should have been filed are missing. Nearly 300 individuals, companies or associations lobbied without first registering."

More attention needs to be given to lobbying activities intended to persuade lawmakers to take action on specific laws or contracts, the report said.

"Such inattention by the public and the press has made it possible for lobbyists to run stealth campaigns that impact America's democracy out of the spotlight," Roberta Baskin, the center's executive director, said in a statement released with the report.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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