Spin Control

Murray in Common Cause sights for defense $

Super committee co-chairwoman Patty Murray gets more money from defense contractors than any other member of the panel assembled to find ways to cut the budget deficit.

So says Common Cause, a public watchdog organization and longtime critic of the campaign financing system, in a new report.

Murray, D-Wash., has received more than a quarter million dollars from the defense industry since 2004, $247,000 to her re-election campaign and $29,000 to her "leadership PAC" a separate campaign fund that funnels money to other candidates.

Of course, one could argue that's not surprising, considering one of the nation's biggest defense contractors is also one of Washington state's biggest employers, Boeing.

Common Cause looks at it another way: That military spending doubled in the last decade and contracts to defense suppliers went up even faster. And 20 percent of all those contracts went to just five companies, one of which was Boeing.

"These companies are pooling their resources – working through vehicles such as their trade group, the Aerospace Industries Association – in an attempt to keep Pentagon spending as high as possible in the face of pressures to reduce the federal deficit," the report contends. "Their most immediate goal is to keep defense spending out of the super committee’s deficit reduction proposal."

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Jim Camden
Jim Camden is the Olympia bureau chief, covering the Legislature and state government. He also is a political columnist and blogger for Spin Control.

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