Introducing our editorial cartoonist, Rob Tornoe
A deep analysis of spending and lobbying records by the Center for Public Integrity revealed that sharp spikes in the company’s donations - including a two-week period in 2011 when its employees and political action committee sent the lawmakers checks for their campaigns totaling nearly $50,000 - roughly coincided with five legislative milestones for the Abrams, including committee hearings and votes and the defense bill’s final passage last year.
This is our first investigative article in a new series entitled "The Gift Economy" about the financial relationships between certain members of Congress and top contractors for the Defense Department.
The article states: "The $3 billion at stake in this fight is not a large sum in Pentagon terms - it’s roughly what the building spends every 82 minutes. But the fight over the Abrams’ future, still unfolding, illuminates the major pressures that drive the current defense spending debate... These include a Pentagon looking to free itself from legacy projects and modernize some of its combat strategy, a Congress looking to defend pet projects, and a well-financed and politically savvy defense industry with deep ties to both, fighting tooth-and-nail to fend off even small reductions in the budget now devoted to the military..."