An Associated Press report published in Tuesday’s (7/12) Washington Post states, “As Boeing lobbied against a rival aerospace company to win a $35 billion government contract, its activities included a curious donation: $10,000 to the Johnstown, Pa., Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra was a favorite cause of Rep. John Murtha, the late Pennsylvania Democrat who, as a gatekeeper for the Defense Department’s budget, held a lot of influence over Pentagon contracting. Boeing ultimately won the contract to build a new military refueling tanker, after the company and its competitor donated to organizations held in favor by key Pentagon generals and lawmakers like Murtha. The payments were disclosed under a 2007 law that opened a window into more than $50 million in previously hidden spending by lobbyists and their clients, according to a compilation by the nonprofit Sunlight Foundation. Most money spent in 2009 and 2010 went to nonprofit groups that were connected to government officials or honored them. For companies seeking influence, ‘it’s a win-win,’ said Wright Andrews, a lobbyist and board member of the American League of Lobbyists. ‘Give to charities and get a tax deduction.’ ”

Posted July 13, 2011