One of the nation's largest defense contractors just donated tens of thousands to lawmakers voting on Ukraine defense legislation




  • In Politics
  • 2022-05-20 18:50:17Z
  • By Business Insider
A trio of rockets, one red, one striped, and one plain, adorn the outside of a Raytheon exhibit at an air show in England.
A trio of rockets, one red, one striped, and one plain, adorn the outside of a Raytheon exhibit at an air show in England.  
  • One of the nation's largest defense contractors just donated tens of thousands to lawmakers.

  • Raytheon Technologies donated to more than 30 lawmakers' campaigns in April.

  • These donations came at a time when members of Congress were debating sending weapons Raytheon makes to Ukraine.

One of the nation's largest defense contractors spread more than $51,000 in contributions among members of Congress and partisan political committees in April as lawmakers debated sending a new round of weapons and other military aid to Ukraine, according to a new filing with the Federal Election Commission.

The contractor, Raytheon Technologies, donated to more than 30 members of Congress' campaigns, as well as several leadership political action committees and national party committees.

As Raytheon Technologies contributed its money to lawmakers throughout April, legislators were discussing more than 10 Ukraine-related bills.

The Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a $40 billion Ukraine military and humanitarian support package, which President Joe Biden is poised to sign. Raytheon manufactures Stinger missiles, which Ukraine is using to shoot down Russian aircraft, as well as co-manufactures Javelin anti-tank missile systems with fellow defense contractor Lockheed Martin.

Of the more than 30 members of Congress to which Raytheon's PAC donated, eight members currently sit on the House Armed Services Committee: Democratic Reps. Veronica Escobar from Texas and Elaine Luria of Virginia, and Republican Reps. Michael Waltz from Florida, Jerry Carl of Alabama, Jack Bergman of Michigan, Mike Turner from Ohio, Jim Banks from Indiana, and Mike Rogers of Alabama.

The weapons supplier also in April donated $15,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and $2,500 to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California.

Raytheon Technologies' PAC spending varies from month to month. Its spending in the month of April during election years has, over time, ranged from low six-figures to no spending at all.

Accepting donations from corporate PACs has been a contentious issue for Democrats, of late. Beginning in earnest during the 2018 election cycle, some liberal candidates have rejected corporate PAC money because they say it represents a corrupting influence and doesn't represent their constituents' needs.

A retired commander in the US Navy, Luria wore off accepting PAC donations in her 2018 campaign, but has since reneged. She's accepted more than $200,000 from corporate PACs this campaign cycle, according to the Washington Post.

A spokesperson for Luria's campaign did not answer Insider's questions about the Raytheon contribution, but said in a statement: "Elaine Luria took an oath at 17 years old to support and defend her country, and she spent 20 years on combat ships at sea doing just that. She knows that Russia and its invasion of Ukraine is a threat to the United States, and she will continue to support humanitarian aid and military assistance to the people of Ukraine in their fight for freedom."

Representatives for the campaigns of Escobar and Rogers did not respond to Insider's request for comment.

Raytheon Technologies acknowledged Insider's request for comment but did not immediately reply to questions.

Beyond campaign contributions from its PAC, Raytheon Technologies spends millions of dollars each year directly lobbying the federal government, including Congress, over policy and regulatory matters. During the first three months of this year alone, Raytheon spent nearly $3.5 million on federal-level lobbying efforts, according to federal data compiled by nonpartisan research organization OpenSecrets.

Meanwhile, 20 federal lawmakers have personally invested money in Raytheon Technology or Lockheed Martin stock, which has nearly doubled in value since the stock market crash of March 2020.

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