Stealth Funding

The House just gave defense contractor Northrop Grumman the go-ahead to build nine more stealth bombers. Of course, Northrop Grumman’s money did most of the deciding.

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Once again, a congressional decision has shown that money talks — or in this case, flies. The House recently voted down Rep. Ron Dellums’ (D-Calif.) proposal to eliminate $331.2 million in funding for nine B-2 stealth bombers to be built by defense contractor Northrup Grumman — nine bombers, that is, that the Pentagon and President Clinton never asked for in the first place.

This deal didn’t just fall into Northrop Grumman’s lap, though. The contractor had to buy its way in. In the last election, Northrop Grumman stealthfully carpeted federal candidates and parties with nearly $900,000 in PAC and soft money donations, according to a study by the Center for Responsive Politics. House National Security Committee members, who proposed the additional bomber funding, got an average of $2,705 from the contractor’s PAC. On the whole, the contractor’s PAC dropped $2,378 on Representatives who voted for stealth funding, ten times more those who voted against it. In the first five months of this year, the contractor’s PAC dropped $84,500 on House members, two-thirds of them Republicans.

Did it pay off? See for yourself (an N indicates a vote against cutting stealth funding):


Northrop Grumman’s Contribution Dispersal Pattern:
Key Targets

Represents $1,000

PAC contributions are inclusive from Jan. 1995-May 1997, based on Federal Election Commission data.
§ Indicates members of the House National Security Committee.

Rank Representative Vote Amount
1
Jane Harman (D-Calif.)§ N

2
Martin Frost (D-Texas) N
3(tie)
Howard P “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.)§ N
3(tie)
Tom DeLay (R-Texas) N
4
Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.) N
5
Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.)§ N
6
Dick Armey (R-Texas) N
7
Robert L Livingston (R-La.) N
8(tie)
Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) N
8(tie)
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) N
9(tie)
C W Bill Young (R-Fla.) N
9(tie)
Ike Skelton (D-Mo.)§ N
9(tie)
John P Murtha (D-Pa.) N
9(tie)
Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) N
9(tie)
Vic Fazio (D-Calif.) N
9(tie)
Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) N
10
Dave Weldon (R-Fla.) N

Source: The Center for Responsive Politics


You can find out how heavily Northrop Grumman targeted your Representative at Congressional Quarterly‘s Vote Watch.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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