This is nice. Lockheed Martin runs a nuclear lab in New Mexico which gets federal funds, taxpayer money. The company recently lobbied for an extension of its contract with the government on a no-bid basis. Seeing as Lockheed doesn’t have piles of money lying around (they do) the company figured that the best way to secure a no-bid contract was to use taxpayer dollars which were allocated for national security purposes, and to hire a former congresswoman turned lobbyist to help secure said no-bid contract with the money.
That’s right, we allegedly paid for Lockheed to crony it up on the Hill so that the giant company could infuse itself with more of our money. (Without even having to worry about competition.)
(From The Washington Post)
“The money allocated by Congress for the Sandia National Laboratories is designed to fund the important mission carried out by our national laboratories, not to lobby Congress for more funding,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said in a statement.
Mizer said the lab, a subsidiary of Lockheed, allegedly used federal money to lobby Congress and other federal officials from 2008 and 2012, “to receive a non-competitive extension” of its contract in violation of federal law.
The case opened a window on the inner workings of power and influence in Washington. It’s not surprising that a big, politically connected defense contractor would lobby hard to keep a lucrative slice of federal business. But this case went further. It was taxpayers, not Lockheed’s corporate lobbying arm in Bethesda, Md., who paid for the influence peddling.