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Lawmakers who oversee government surveillance programs receive millions from intelligence companies

December 13, 2013 | Joe Schoffstall - 330 Comments

Every member who sits on the committees that oversee government intelligence operations has received campaign contributions from the top twenty largest intelligence companies in the United States, according to a new report.

Amid the NSA scandal, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence — the committees in charge of oversight — denied stricter reform attempts to the NSA programs and instead propelled legislation aimed at restoring their trust. The committees are intended to keep waste, fraud, and abuse in check given most of these programs are hidden from the general public.

Every single member on the committees received campaign contributions from the largest intelligence companies in the U.S. performing services for the the government.

A report from Maplight, a nonpartisan research organization that reveals money in politics, highlights the donations from political action committees (PACs) and individuals from the intelligence services companies to these members. The report shows donations amount to over $3.7 million from 2005-2013.

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D- Md.), the highest ranking Democrat on the House committee, received the most amount of money. He was given $363,600 with $124,350 of this coming from a single company — Northrop Grumman. As the Center for Public Integrity notes, Rep. Ruppersberger’s Maryland district includes the NSA. He is also a member of the “Gang of Eight” and receives extremely detailed intelligence reports that many other members do not receive.

The second highest amount was given to Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D- Md.) who received $210,150. Sen. Mikulski also happens to be chairwomen of the Senate Appropriations Committee — a committee which allocates federal funds to a majority of government programs, including intelligence.

Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) was given $205,345 — he is the second highest ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee.

Rep. James Langevin (D- R.I.) received $200,850 from intelligence companies’ PACs, top executives, and lobbyists. Langevin is the second highest ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Intelligence Subcommittee.

L-3 Communications, Lockheed Martin, CACI International, GTCR Golder Rauner L.L.C., SAIC Inc, Mission Essential, and Booz Allen Hamilton are among the top companies to contribute to committee members.

Here are the top 20 intelligence companies to hand out donations:

Chart via Maplight.org.

Chart via Maplight.org.

“It’s not clear from the report whether the contractors’ overall contributions to committee members have been rising,” writes the Center for Public Integrity. “During the 2005-2006 election campaign, when only nine of the current members served on the committees, the contractors gave those members a total of $344,954, it said. During the 2011-2012 campaign, they gave a total of $1,046,382 to 36 of the 40 current members of the committees, including to the nine members who joined the committee this year. The other four received industry contributions before 2011.”

However, not all of the members defend the NSA programs. Sen. Ron Wyden (D- Ore.), a senior intelligence committee member, has been critical of their activities despite receiving $24,500. This also puts him at the bottom of the pack in relation to contributions to current committee members.

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Joe Schoffstall

Joe Schoffstall is a Reporter and Editor at Capitol City Project. Previously, he worked as a Multimedia Reporter at the Media Research Center (MRCTV, CNSNews.com).

His work has been featured on numerous outlets including the Drudge Report, Fox News, CBS News, ABC News, Yahoo News, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and The Huffington Post-- among many others.

You can contact Joe by emailing Joe@CapitolCityProject.com.
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