Politico.com has this excellent article about space contractors making campaign contributions to members of Congress to assure they receive NASA contracts.
Boeing spent nearly $18 million on its own lobbying operation in 2010, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a government watchdog group. In addition, Boeing hired 19 outside lobbying firms and paid them an additional $3.5 million-plus. Among its outside lobbyists is former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.).
Boeing’s PAC donated more than $2.2 million during the past cycle, including $7,500 to Shelby’s campaign committee, $13,000 to Mikulski’s reelection committee and leadership PAC, $1,000 to Aderholt and $3,500 to Wolf.
Lockheed Martin spent nearly $13 million on in-house lobbying and $3 million on outside lobbyists, including former Rep. Sonny Callahan (D-Ala.). And Bill Inglee, staff director of the House Appropriations Committee, is a former vice president at Lockheed Martin.
Lockheed Martin’s PAC shelled out nearly $3.5 million in 2009-10, according to records, with the lawmakers seeking the NASA funding receiving more than $69,000.
Alliant Techsystems, also known as ATK, spent $1.3 million on federal lobbying, according to disclosure reports. Its PAC gave out $28,500 to lawmakers involved in obtaining the new NASA funding, including $15,000 to Shelby, FEC records show.
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, which is working with ATK on part of the rocket system, is a division of United Technologies, and is itself a major lobbying force — spending $14.5 million in 2010 — with a PAC that dished out nearly $30,000 to members pushing for the NASA money.
Contrast these millions of dollars with the modest campaign contributions made by SpaceX.