US Senators Dick Durbin, John McCain and Timothy Kaine are among those who have received money from the American defense industry.© AFP 2013
The breakdown of defense industry cash given to key US senators who voted Wednesday on military action against Syria.© Wired.com
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WASHINGTON, September 5 (RIA Novosti) – Key US senators backing military action against Syria received on average 83 percent more campaign cash from the defense industry than those who voted against the strike, the US technology magazine Wired reported Thursday.
The 10 members of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee who voted Wednesday to authorize a punitive strike against Syrian government targets over an apparent chemical weapons attack received an average of $72,850 from defense contractors over a five-year span compared to an average of $39,770 received by the seven members who voted no, Wired reported.
The report was based on data collected from 2007 to 2012 by the Center for Responsive Politics, a respected Washington-based campaign finance watchdog group, and analyzed by Maplight, a California-based group tracking money in politics.
Critics have long accused the US defense industry of using its deep pockets to influence lawmakers in Washington and benefiting from American military operations abroad.
The funds cited in the analysis, commissioned by Wired, came from political action committees and employees of defense and intelligence firms, including Boeing and Lockheed Martin. In total the 17 members of the Senate committee received just over $1 million during the five-year period.
The 10-7 vote by the Senate committee means the measure can now be taken to the full Senate for debate and a vote. The foreign affairs committee of the House of Representatives has begun debate on a similar resolution, though it is expected to have a tougher time winning backing there then it did with the Senate committee.
The bills under discussion would permit President Barack Obama to order a limited US military strike against Syria in retaliation for an apparent chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs on Aug. 21 that the Obama administration says it believes was carried out by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The operation approved by the Senate committee would not exceed 90 days and would involve no American troops on the ground for combat operations. It must be approved by the full Senate when it reconvenes next week and by the 435-member House of Representatives before it can be sent to Obama for his signature.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee member who received the most defense cash during the five-year span is Sen. John McCain, a hawkish Republican from Arizona and fierce Kremlin critic who garnered $176,000 in defense industry financing, according to the report.
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