Defense contractors pour money into congressional races

John T. Bennett, national security and foreign policy correspondent for U.S. News & World Report, says that U.S. defense contractors are ignoring the presidential race and pouring millions into Congressional campaigns.

The five biggest American arms manufacturers have donated a combined $7.1 million into the presidential and congressional races so far, according to data analyzed by U.S. News & World Report. But $6.8 million of that amount has gone to congressional candidates, with $4.2 million donated to GOP Capitol Hill hopefuls thus far.

Why? Remember sequestration? The looming fiscal cliff? Remember a year ago when Congress and the administration agreed to automatic spending cuts and tax increases as part of the debt ceiling debate? As things stand now, some $500 billion will be trimmed from defense spending beginning January 2013.

The “big five” are worried and Congress controls their fate. So they have jumped into action. Bennett reports:

GOP House Armed Services Committee Chairman, California Republican Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, has led the charge on Capitol Hill, vociferously and passionately warning about what he says would be the disastrous effect on national security the new cuts would bring.

The top arms manufacturers have responded by filling McKeon's campaign coffers. Lockheed Martin has contributed $64,250 to McKeon, with Northrop Grumman donating $50,500 and Boeing giving $31,750, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Read the full report: Defense Firms Ignore Presidential Fight, Pour Millions Into Congressional Races

One last thought.

Because of campaign contribution reporting requirements, we know how much money "the big five" give to the presidential and congressional candidates. What we don't know -- and this is the footnote that will have to be attached to each and every election financing story -- is how much these corporations and their CEOs have given to super-PACs. Thanks Citizens United.

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