Fearing its U.S. Department of Energy contract to run one of the nation’s premier nuclear-weapons labs would not be renewed, Lockheed Martin lobbied federal officials using taxpayer money, according to a DOE audit. The audit said Lockheed Martin broke federal law in its lobbying for a 12-year contract renewal to run Sandia National Laboratories of Albuquerque, N.M., which traces its origins to the World War II-era Manhattan Project.
DOE Inspector General George H. Friedman said in his report that Sandia clearly would do whatever was needed to get the contract, whether the tactics were legal or not.
According to the non-profit Center for Investigative Reporting, which broke the story, Friedman’s six-page public summary of his investigation “is noteworthy because it’s an unusual broadside against what many in the Capitol say is a common way of doing business: Get one federal grant, and then use the profits to hire lobbyists — including former members of Congress — to meet with federal officials, lawmakers and others who can help orchestrate a new, even richer federal grant. It’s Washington’s own version of a perpetual motion machine.”
Sandia wound up getting not the 12-year renewal it wanted, but a 2-year renewal worth $7.7 billion. Frank Klotz, director of the National Nuclear Security Administration, said his agency was looking into recovering any misused funds.
Corporate coverage of this corporate business-as-usual was next to non-existent – itself business as usual.
Source: R. Jeffrey Smith, “Nuclear weapons lab used taxpayer funds to obtain more taxpayer funds,” November 21, 2014, http://www.publicintegrity.org/2014/11/13/16270/nuclear-weapons-lab-used-taxpayer-funds-obtain-more-taxpayer-funds.
Student Researcher: Danielle Hill (Frostburg State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Andy Duncan (Frostburg State University)