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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The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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