Boeing Steps Up Lobbying Efforts

The New York Times reports Friday that due to Obama administration cutbacks in spending on weapons systems, defense manufacturer Boeing has intensified its lobbying efforts.

The Times reports that Boeing has been hit harder than any other major contractor and has lost tens of billions of dollars of potential business after the Pentagon canceled or delayed plans for combat defense systems.

"The defense industry is grappling with the fact that the big increases of the Bush years are now over," said Loren B. Thompson, an analyst at the Lexington Institute, a research group financed partly by military contractors. "And the spending on weapons is starting to melt down so fast that it will be difficult for most companies to compensate by adding revenue from other sources."

Last month the Times reported that Boeing's relationship with the Pentagon was getting increasingly tumultuous after the manufacturer was censured for obtaining 25,000 proprietary Lockheed Martin documents and using them to win satellite contracts. As a result, Boeing was denied government business estimated to be worth $1 billion.

As military spending decreases, Boeing is counting on its 23 Washington lobbyists to aggressively press lawmakers. The Associated Press reported that the company spent $2.6 million lobbying Congress in the second-quarter of 2009, an 8 percent increase from the first quarter.

Sen. John McCain argued recently in a floor debate to strip $2.5 billion worth of cargo planes from a military spending bill, he complained that members of Congress could not "walk through these hallways without bumping into a lobbyist from Boeing."