McKeon Worries Sequestration Could Hurt His ‘Industry Partners’

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) held a hearing on Wednesday to give defense contractors a chance to air their grievances about the sequester, an automatic spending cut that would hit defense and domestic programs unless Congress takes action to reduce the deficit.

The heads of Lockheed Martin, EADS North America, Pratt & Whitney, and Williams-Pyro—defense contractors that McKeon called “our industry partners”—each got a chance to take the witness stand and speak about the uncertainty the possible sequester has injected into their business.

What they didn’t mention in their testimony is the amount of money their company’s PACs and employees pour into McKeon and the committee’s campaign coffers, according to a Public Campaign Action Fund analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

  • Lockheed Martin is McKeon’s top career campaign contributor, having given $186,600. The lion’s share of that amount came after it became clear that McKeon would become committee chair in 2011. CEO Robert Stevens, who testified on Wednesday, even personally gave $4,000.
  • McKeon has brought in $11,500 from EADS—more than half of it after becoming chairman—as well as $17,500 from Pratt & Whitney’s parent company, United Technologies Corporation.
  • Overall, McKeon has received $1,228,700 from defense interests during his time in Washington—one of the biggest recipients of their largesse. For 2012, he has already received $441,850.
  • So far this election cycle, members of the House Armed Services Committee have raked in an eye-opening $3,774,896 from the same defense sector they are supposed to oversee—roughly what they received in the entire 2010 cycle.

The defense industry spent $133 million on lobbying Congress in 2011 and $33 million in the first quarter of 2012. That money, tied to the industry’s campaign contributions, shows the outsized influence these contractors have in Washington.