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Make companies' political spending transparent
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)

San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper), June 5, 2011
Posted: June 14th, 2011

Lockheed Martin, the nation's largest contractor ... has received more than $19 billion in federal contracts so far this year. Lockheed has already spent more than $3 million lobbying Congress this year. Lockheed supports a platoon of Washington lawyers and lobbyists dedicated to getting more federal contracts. Sixty-four of Lockheed's lobbyists are former congressional staffers, Pentagon officials and White House aides. Two are former members of Congress. As such, they used to be on the public payroll, representing us. Lockheed also has been spending more than $3 million a year on political contributions to friendly members of Congress. Lockheed is hardly alone in using taxpayer money to get fatter contracts from taxpayers. All of the 10 biggest government contractors are defense contractors. Every one of them gets most of its revenue from the federal government. And every one uses a portion of that money to lobby for even more defense contracts. Next year's expected drawdown of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq is supposed to save money. But Lockheed and other giant defense contractors have made sure all anticipated savings will go to new weapons systems. Lockheed recently delivered a budget bombshell with a proposed tab of more than $1 trillion for a fleet of F-35 joint-strike fighter jets.

Note: $1 trillion for a fighter jet fleet means that each American will pay over $3,000 for this fleet. The author of this op-ed, Robert Reich, is former U.S. secretary of labor, professor of public policy at UC Berkeley and the author of Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future. He blogs at

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