Sheila Krumholz, Executive Director Open Secrets
“You follow OpenSecrets because you want to cut through the noise — pushing past rhetoric to find the money and influential actors aligned on an issue.
We don’t always provide the easiest read, but you’ll always receive unadulterated analysis, steeped in reliable data that has been meticulously maintained for decades. We do this because, as you know, the devil is often in the details.
[ Also check out… POGO.org ]
A recent example is our Capitalizing on Conflict report series that examines the defense industry’s multi-pronged influence machine. While the defense industry plays an outsized role in Washington — note the $840B 2023 National Defense Authorization Act budget just passed in the House of Representatives — it’s hard to visualize the industry’s influence in its totality.
To start unraveling the influence network, our researchers pulled data on all inputs (read $$$) from defense firms and contractors to elected officials, PACs and lobbyists. So far, we’ve revealed that:
- In the past two decades, defense companies, PACs, and donors have directed $300 million in campaign contributions and $2.6 billion in lobbying spending to influence defense policy. That’s $40,000 a day.
- Defense firms and foreign agents from countries who purchase U.S. arms squeeze Congress on both sides, sometimes hiring the same lobbying firms to work in their mutual interests.
- As a way to “get their foot in the door”, defense sector donors have contributed $3.4M to members of the House Armed Services Committee and $7.2M to members of the Senate in the 2022 election cycle alone.
Our investigation has not gone unnoticed. With OpenSecrets data used as a catalyst, a Public Citizen report in early July shows that defense company investments in Congress have produced a 450,000% return.”