Defense firms hold off on spending

Jeremy Herb and Brandon Conradis
The Hill
April 27, 2012

Lobbying for the top defense contractors remained mostly flat in the first three months of 2012 compared to last year despite the threat of sequestration that could hit the Pentagon budget with an additional $500 billion in across-the-board spending cuts.

Spending on lobbying by 20 of the top defense and aerospace contractors in 2012 decreased a slight 2.4 percent compared to the companies’ first-quarter 2011 spending, an analysis of lobbying disclosure records found.

The flatline suggests that many in the defense industry are waiting until after the November election — or even until the next Congress — to make a lobbying push on sequestration, even as leaders in the industry, the Pentagon and Congress all say that the automatic cuts in sequestration should be addressed now.

Sequestration was set into motion in November when the congressional supercommittee tasked with finding $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction failed.

Defense lobbyists say another reason some in the industry haven’t ramped up their lobbying is because the individual companies aren’t uniting to fight sequestration in a way that other industries, such as those in healthcare, have done in the past.

“It’s something that affects everybody, but they really don’t have a history of banding together and saying, ‘OK, let’s all work together,” said Michael Herson, president of American Defense International (ADI). “The cuts might be coming but we have to focus on our stuff — that’s the mentality.”

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