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Government Contractors Cheat Taxpayers, Pay Politicians

Government contractors who are most likely to defraud taxpayers are also the largest contributors to political campaigns, a new analysis finds.

According to the Project on Government Oversight, it’s a small group of federal contractors who face paying $92 billion in fines and court judgements for defrauding taxpayers. But they also are among the most generous campaign contributors and lobbyists.

Boeing, for example, has paid over $1.4 billion in financial penalties since 1995 for everything from falsifying invoices to overbilling the government. But Boeing is also the second biggest spender on lobbying by corporations, to the tune of some $16 million for the first nine months of this year. At the same time it is generous with campaign contributions, kicking in $1.9 million for them.

Other big corporate names on the list who have faced large penalties for defrauding taxpayers while also generously lavishing money on politicians include Exxon Mobil, Lockheed Martin, and General Electric. Thus far in 2015, GE has spent more on lobbying in Washington than any other company through the first nine months of the year.

An analysis of the data by The Intercept notes that while these corporations face large financial penalties for their actions, they rarely face criminal action and often continue on as government contractors.

The lesson may well be if you are going to defraud the government, you better be prepared to cough up money for lobbyists and politicians.

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