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New report shows that US weapons manufacturer’s campaign contributions target members of the US Armed Services Committee, like Michigan Senator Gary Peters

July 13, 2022

Last month we reported that the US Senate Armed Services Committee, which includes Michigan Senator Gary Peters, voted to increased the US Military Budget by an additional $45 Billion, making it the largest US Military Budget in history.

Last week, the group Public Citizen released a new report entitled, Military-Industrial Complex Campaign Checks Help Explain Bloated Pentagon Budget. This report begins by saying: 

Every year, the defense industry donates millions of dollars to the campaigns of members of Congress, creating pressure on the legislative branch to fund specific weapons systems, maintain an extremely high Pentagon budget, and add ever more military spending. This upwards pressure is a constant, no matter what figure is requested by the president for the Pentagon, even though nearly 50% of the current Pentagon budget already goes to private contractors each year.

Members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees are especially targeted by defense contractors. These committee members determine the amount of money authorized for the Pentagon when the committee marks up the annual Pentagon policy bill, the National Defense Authorization Act.

The report from Public Citizen makes it clear that there is a direct correlation between the campaign contributions made by weapons manufacturers and which members of Congress consistently vote for increases in US military spending.

The information included in this new report demonstrates that this is a bipartisan project, with both Democrats and Republicans receiving large sums of campaign funds from weapons makers, as can be seen in the graphic above.

This bipartisan dynamic is strongest within the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, although the Senate Armed Services Committee receives a great deal more of campaign funding from the Military Industrial Complex than the House Armed Services Committee. 

In addition, the report breaks down the amount that each member of both the House and Senate Foreign Services Committee members have received from weapons manufacturers, just within the current election cycle (2022). You can see from the chart below that Michigan Senator Gary Peters, who voted for the $45 Billion additional military budget funds, is the 6th highest recipient of campaign contributions from US weapons manufacturers.

As we noted in the previous post from last month about the increased funding for the US Military Budget, Senator Peters even bragged about how this money will help Michigan’s weapons manufacturers. Such bravado is particularly insulting when we look at how many Michiganders are struggling to survive economically, along with the fact that increased US military spending is essentially a big fuck you to any notion of Climate Justice. 

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