The Members of Congress Who Profit From War – Sludge
Members of Congress’ investments in defense contractors may present more significant potential conflicts of interest than investments in other industries because the contractors rely heavily on defense spending that is approved by Congress for their revenue.
More than 70% of Lockheed Martin’s $51 billion in 2018 revenue came from sales to the U.S. government, for example. Companies like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon are considered “pure plays” because they sell their products almost exclusively to the government through appropriations approved by Congress.
“Members of Congress should divest from all investments tied to their congressional responsibilities and avoid any actual or potential conflicts of interest or ethics dilemmas,” Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, told Sludge.
In the Senate, nearly one-third of the members of the Defense Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee own stocks in top defense contractors. The subcommittee is in charge of drafting the procurement section of the annual Defense spending bill, which allocates funding for the Defense Department and specifies weapons systems and other goods for the department to purchase from private contractors.