Defense contracting giant Lockheed Martin has agreed to pay a fine to settle charges that the company illegally lobbied for a major government contract using federal funds. Lockheed targeted members of Congress and the Obama administration from 2009 to 2014, using money that had been allocated for research in a previous federal contract.
This is not the first time the contractor has used tax dollars to lobby for additional income. The Energy Department investigation that exposed these lobbying habits suggested Lockheed "felt empowered [to lobby this way] because it had improperly directed federal funds to similar activities in the past."
The contract Lockheed unethically sought was worth $2.4 billion annually, and the company's 2014 revenues totaled $45.6 billion — but the settlement payment was just $4.7 million. It's a "slap on the wrist for the world’s biggest defense contractor to pay," according to Jay Coghlan of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, who argues that Lockheed "engaged in deep and systemic corruption" which should result in criminal prosecution.