April 4, 2008
WASHINGTON — Members of Congress have as much as $196 million collectively invested in companies doing business with the Defense Department, earning millions since the onset of the Iraq war, according to a study by a nonpartisan research group.
Not all the companies in which lawmakers invested are typical defense contractors. Corporations such as PepsiCo, IBM, Microsoft and Johnson & Johnson have at one point received defense-related contracts, notes the report by the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics.
The center’s review of lawmakers’ 2006 financial disclosure statements suggests that members’ holdings could pose a conflict of interest as they decide the fate of Iraq war spending. Several members earning money from these contractors have plum committee or leadership assignments, including Democratic Sen. John Kerry, independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman and House Republican Whip Roy Blunt.