Friday, September 11, 2009
3 defense firms' lobbying cost $35M: 2008 mark a record for trio with ties to Southern Arizona
Defense contractors with ties to Southern Arizona spent a record $35 million last year lobbying government.
The biggest spender by far was Northrop Grumman Corp., whose global business empire includes a Sierra Vista division with 1,000 employees.
Northrop Grumman hurled $20.7
million at lobbying efforts, up from $10.8 million a year earlier. The biggest single lobbying contract was half-a-million dollars paid to a firm led by former Sens. Trent Lott, R-Miss., and John Breaux, D-La.
The company spent less on such hired guns so far this year. First-quarter reports filed with the U.S. Senate by Monday's deadline show that Northrop Grumman's lobbying cost $2.6 million, down from $3.3 million for the same period last year and from $4.3 million in the final quarter of 2008.
Defense analyst John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, is not surprised that many defense contractors have doubled or tripled their lobbying budgets over the past decade.
quot;Everyone is spending more, so these contractors are in a race with every other interest group feeding at the public trough,quot; Pike said.