Watchdog: Follow the Money

Congress tells Air Force to keep flying drone it wants to scrap

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Congress,Watchdog,The Pentagon,Northrop Grumman,Air Force,Sunlight Foundation,National Security,Drones,Lobbying,Kelly Cohen,Follow the Money

For a company that gets 90 percent of its revenue from the federal government, it comes as no surprise that Northrop Grumman is writing big checks to members of Congress, according to the Sunlight Foundation.

The nonprofit watchdog group reports that the defense technology company has split $1.67 million among the campaign committees and leadership political action committees of 236 U.S. House members and 62 senators.

These numbers come from OpenSecrets.org's 2014 cycle compilations.

For an explanation of why, Sunlight points to an obscure provision of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 that directs the U.S. Air Force to spend more money on an aircraft it would rather scrap, the Global Hawk drone -- or, as the military formally calls it, "unmanned aerial vehicle."

The Global Hawk's sensors and cameras have been deemed by Air Force officials as less effective tools for surveillance than the old U-2 spy plane that is still in service.

Plus, the Global Hawk cannot be flown in poor weather conditions. Each drone would cost the Air Force about $7 million, according to Sunlight.

"While the Omnibus Appropriations Bill has a few more procedural hurdles to clear, Northrop Grumman greatly appreciates Congress’ continued support of Global Hawk," the company's vice president for strategic communications, Brandon R. Belote, said in a statement quoted by Sunlight.

Go here for more from Sunlight.

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