WASHINGTON — The world’s two largest defense companies have joined a number of American industrial titans in hitting pause on political donations, with Lockheed Martin and Boeing on Wednesday announcing they would halt political giving following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. capitol.
They join Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Technologies, Leidos and Hunting Ingalls Industries in pausing political donations. The announcements came as thousands of National Guardsmen are preparing to lock down Washington to ensure a similar attack does not occur during the inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden.
In an unattributed corporate statement, Boeing said “”We continuously assess our political action committee contributions to ensure that Boeing supports those who reflect our company’s values. Boeing strongly condemns the violence, lawlessness and destruction that took place in the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Given the current environment, we are not making political contributions at this time. We will continue to carefully evaluate future contributions to ensure that we support those who not only support our company, but also uphold our country’s most fundamental principles.”
Lockheed’s corporate statement was even broader, without a mention of Jan. 6 riot. The statement says the company “routinely evaluates and updates our political action committee contribution strategy to reflect our core values and the constantly changing political landscape and priorities. As we enter a new political cycle, we are not making political contributions as we continue this evaluation to ensure our political donation and engagement program remains aligned with our business priorities.”
Both company stances, as well as those of the four defense firms who previously made statements, are focused on pausing political donations to all political candidates. That is a safer tactic than a number of non-defense companies, including Marriot Hotels and MasterCard, which specifically pledged to stop financially supporting the 147 members of Congress who voted against the certification of Biden’s electoral victory on Jan. 6.
Additionally, corporate PACs often lower giving at the start of a new Congress to assess strategy, meaning a pledge to pause all donations for an indeterminate period of time may have less force behind it than it appears.
Among those members were several leaders of the House Armed Services Committee, including incoming ranking member Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama. Other notables included tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee ranking member Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri, seapower and projection forces subcommittee ranking member Rep. Rob Wittman of Virginia, and intelligence and emerging threats subcommittee ranking member Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York.
Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. Josh Hawley, R-MO, seen as the leader of the effort against certification in the senate, has faced particular pushback.
Given those leadership roles, it’s of little surprise then that major defense firms have been regular donors to those members. According to OpenSecrets.com, which analyzed leadership PACs and individual donations for the 2020 election cycle, Lockheed, Northrop, Raytheon and Boeing were among the top 20 overall donors to the members who opposed Biden’s certification.
Lockheed, at $794,353, was 9th on the list; Boeing, at $662,701, was 20th. Overall in the 2020 election cycle, Lockheed employees and PAC gave $6.28 million, Boeing’s employees and PAC $7.06 million.
Valerie Insinna in Washington contributed to this report.