TEXT OF STORY
LISA NAPOLI: Just as campaign season is about to start heating up, word that one of the biggest corporate donors to political candidates in the United States is a British defense contractor. BAE has given more than $650,000 to fund candidates in America’s upcoming Congressional elections. From London, Marketplace’s Stephen Beard reports.
STEPHEN BEARD: The donations are perfectly legal.
Under US law, American subsidiaries of foreign companies can raise political donations from their Amercian employees.
BAE has done that to the full. The company is now among the top 20 political donors in the US. It’s even outspent such American giants as Microsoft, ExxonMobil and Citigroup.
This is not that surprising, says Andrew Hilton of the CSFI think tank, BAE though officially British is now a major supplier to the Pentagon:
ANDREW HILTON:“It sees itself now primarily as an American company. It behaves as an American company and as an American company in the defense area it has to buy political support.”
The three biggest beneficiaries of BAE’s largesse serve on defense and appropriations committees in Congress.
In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.