Working the System

John Campbell
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Posted: Nov 30, 2007 4:22 PM

In a recently published article in Government Executive Magazine Robert Brodsky uncovers that "the 20 biggest federal contractors received at least 80 earmarks worth more than $212 million." (See the chart below to see who garnered the most)

These big companies know how to maneuver through the system, and how the current system operates, that means they have lobbyists willing to make campaign contributions to members who are willing to sponsor earmarks.  They also know this is an easy way of circumventing the competitive bidding process, thereby undercutting smaller firms.

The House has established rules for transparency, requiring members to certify who requested the earmark as well as whom the beneficiary would be.  The Senate established a similar rule before the Democratic leadership watered down the rule so that the requesting Senator only has to declare that the earmark will not end up in personal financial gain. 

The 80 earmarks scrutinized by this report are only from members of the House;  meaning that roughly $5.3 billion were sponsored or cosponsored by one or more members of the Senate, without disclosure of the beneficiary.

I don’t know about you, but $5.3 billion is not a small sum of money, and if I am paying for it, I want to know where it is going and for what.

It is clear from this report that the earmarking process is far from reformed.

Contractor

Earmarks

Total Value

Lockheed Martin Corp

3

$4,680,000

Boeing Co.

2

$5,000,000

Northrop Grumman Corp.

7

$27,800,000

General Dynamics Corp.

9

$22,000,000

Raytheon Co.

7

$21,800,000

KBR Inc.

0

$0

L-3 Communications Holdings

19

$54,140,000

SAIC

11

$21,400,000

United Technologies Corp.

1

$3,200,000

BAE Systems

7

$16,800,000

McKesson Corp.

0

$0

Bechtel Group Inc.

0

$0

University of California System

4

$6,800,000

Computer Sciences Corp.*

0

$0

General Electric Co.

3

$5,500,000

Fluor Corp.

0

$0

Humana Inc.

0

$0

Battelle Memorial Institute

3

$8,800,000

EDS

0

$0

Honeywell Inc.

4

$14,800,000

Total

80

$212,720,000


Top 20 contractors courtesy of Eagle Eye Publishers

*A $1 million House earmark was eliminated in conference with the Senate