Associated Press: Defense industry titans conduct lobbying blitz to win contract for air refueling tankers

Written by admin on February 23rd, 2011

The lobbying battle for the $35 billion contract to replace the aging refueling planes has been “some of the fiercest and costliest lobbying that Washington has ever seen.”

AP via Alabama Live

In the past year, Boeing has spent $5 million on print advertising to promote its version of the tanker and EADS has shelled out $1.7 million to boost its prototype, according to Evan Tracey, president of the Campaign Media Analysis Group, which typically monitors advertising for political campaigns.

On top of that spending, the two companies have put ads on drive-time radio and the Washington subway system.

Among the dozens of lobbyists for the two companies are former lawmakers, one-time senior Defense Department officials and former congressional staffers who labored behind the scenes for the committees that oversaw the military and its budgets.

Boeing, which also builds commercial aircraft as well as other defense components, spent $17.9 million on lobbying in 2010 and $16.9 million in 2009. EADS spent $3 million in 2010 and $2.98 million in 2009. While the numbers, compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, reflect the companies’ overall spending on lobbying, the tanker was a top priority during that time.

“The lobbying aspect is just one component of a massive and sustained influence effort by both of these companies,” said Dave Levinthal, communications director for the center.


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