Conflict of interest is never in short supply.
Every member who sits on the committees that oversee government intelligence operations has received campaign contributions from the top twenty largest intelligence companies in the United States, according to a new report.
Amid the NSA scandal, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence — the committees in charge of oversight — denied stricter reform attempts to the NSA programs and instead propelled legislation aimed at restoring their trust. The committees are intended to keep waste, fraud, and abuse in check given most of these programs are hidden from the general public.
Every single member on the committees received campaign contributions from the largest intelligence companies in the U.S. performing services for the the government.
A report from Maplight, a nonpartisan research organization that reveals money in politics, highlights the donations from political action committees (PACs) and individuals from the intelligence services companies to these members. The report shows donations amount to over $3.7 million from 2005-2013.
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D- Md.), the highest ranking Democrat on the House committee, received the most amount of money. He was given $363,600 with $124,350 of this coming from a single company — Northrop Grumman. As the Center for Public Integrity notes, Rep. Ruppersberger’s Maryland district includes the NSA. He is also a member of the “Gang of Eight” and receives extremely detailed intelligence reports that many other members do not receive.
The second highest amount was given to Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D- Md.) who received $210,150. Sen. Mikulski also happens to be chairwomen of the Senate Appropriations Committee — a committee which allocates federal funds to a majority of government programs, including intelligence.
Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) was given $205,345 — he is the second highest ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee.
Rep. James Langevin (D- R.I.) received $200,850 from intelligence companies’ PACs, top executives, and lobbyists. Langevin is the second highest ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Intelligence Subcommittee.
MapLight analysis of campaign contributions from political action committees (PACs) and individuals from the top 20 intelligence services contractors working with the Department of Defense, ranked by total value of contracts received, to members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Data source: Federal Election Commission from January 1, 2005 – October 4, 2013. Department of Defense intelligence services contracts source: USASpending (contract totals as of September 26, 2013)
- In total, members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence have received $3.7 million from top intelligence services contractors since January 1, 2005.
- Members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from Maryland — home of NSA headquarters — led the committees in money received from top intelligence contractors. Representative C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, D-Md., is the largest recipient, having received $363,600 since January 1, 2005. Senator Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., is the second largest recipient, having received $210,150.
- Republican members of House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence have received $1.86 million since January 1, 2005, while Democrat members have received $1.82 million over the same time period.
- Members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence have received $2.2 million since January 1, 2005 from top intelligence services contractors, while members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence have received $1.5 million.
- Lockheed Martin has given $798,910 to members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence since January 1, 2005, more than any of the other top 20 intelligence service contractors. Northrop Grumman has given $753,101, the second highest amount, and Honeywell has given $714,913, the third highest amount.
TOP 20 INTELLIGENCE SERVICES CONTRACTORS
CONTRIBUTIONS TO CONGRESSIONAL INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEES
value of contracts)
Top 20 Intelligence Services Contractors
Contributions to House Permanent Select Committee
Contributions to Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Total Contributions to Intelligence Committee Members 1. *L-3 Communications $156,995 $81,150 $238,145 2. Lockheed Martin $478,660 $320,250 $798,910 3. CACI International – $8,350 $8,350 4. GTCR Golder Rauner L.L.C. – – – 5. SAIC Inc. (Leidos) $139,585 $160,500 $300,085 6. Mission Essential – $500 $500 7. Booz Allen Hamilton $1,200 $11,200 $12,400 8. Griffon Corp. $5,000 – $5,000 9. SOS International – – – 10. Kingfisher Systems – – – 11. Battelle Memorial Institute $3,300 $1,250 $4,550 12. Northrop Grumman $420,601 $332,500 $753,101 13. Jorge Scientific Corp. – – – 14. Honeywell International $455,614 $259,299 $714,913 15. ManTech International $62,200 $27,800 $90,000 16. General Dynamics $446,150 $230,000 $676,150 17. Chenega Corp. – $1,997 $1,997 18. Johns Hopkins University $12,950 $67,300 $80,250 19. New World Solutions – – – 20. AECOM Tech Corp. $9,800 $12,500 $22,300 Grand Total $2,192,055 $1,514,596 $3,706,651
*Contract totals were combined for L-3 Communications Holdings Inc., L-3 National Security Solutions Inc. and L-3 Communications Corporation. Department of Defense intelligence services contracts source: USASpending (contract totals as of September 26, 2013)
Political favors and funding are as old as humankind. The problem has always been the ominous effect money can have on influence peddling. The argument could be made that even grassroots donations from rank and file citizens are meant to influence candidates to support particular issues and legislation.
If you continue to re-elect politicians who represent their own interests over the Constitution and the good of the country, you deserve what you get.
As a buddy of mine often says: “Politicians are scum”.
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