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September 25, 1991 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-25

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 25, 1991 - Page 7

Levin: Lobby laws ineffective

Report reveals only $3,547 of $5.7 million in 1990

lobbying funds were disclosed

WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen.
Carl Levin (D-Mich.) says six major
military contractors spent $5.7 mil-
lion lobbying the government in
1990 but were required to publicly
disclose only a fraction of the costs.
A new lobbying disclosure law
enacted in October 1989 is so rid-
dled with exemptions that the con-
tractors reported only $3,547 of the
$5.7 million spent last year, a Senate
investigation said.
"We have discovered again that
the lobbying disclosure laws are
failing miserably to achieve their
purpose," the Detroit Democrat
said.
The investigation of lobbying
disclosures was conducted by
Levin's Senate Governmental Af-
fairs oversight subcommittee.
Committee investigators made the
results available to The Associated
Press before a hearing on the disclo-
sure problems scheduled for today.
The $5.7 million was the figure
privately provided to the Defense
Contract Audit Agency by the six
companies. The committee didn't
break down the money company by
company.
The six contr'actors studied
were: McDonnell Douglas, which
had military contracts worth $8.9
billion in fiscal 1990; General Dy-
namics, $6.5 billion; General Elec-
tric, $5.8 billion; United Technolo-

gies, $2.9 billion; Martin Marietta,
$4.2 billion; and Lockheed, $3.8 bil-
lion. The committee said the figures
were from published compilations
of the top 200 government contrac-
tors.
A government-wide regulation
requires contractors to disclose
their costs to the contracting agency
to prevent unauthorized charges;
lobbying expenses must be broken
out separately.

measuring publicly reported expen-
ditures.
The investigators said they could
not conclude that the contractors
violated either disclosure law.
"Disclosure under the Byrd
Amendment is almost non-existent
and it's not because there's so little
lobbying," Levin said in a news re-
lease. "Instead there's a real prob-
lem with the way this law has been
interpreted, applied and also stu-

'We have discovered again that the lobbying
disclosure laws are failing miserably to
achieve their purpose'
- Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.)

want to make sure Congress will
finance production of a prototype.
An example of a contractor lob-
bying blitz occurred just last week
when the Senate Appropriations
Committee resuscitated the Sea-
wolf submarine. A day earlier, the
panel's defense subcommittee voted
to stop funds for the warship.
Sen. Daniel Inouye, (D-Hawaii), y
chair of the Defense Appropriations
Subcommittee, led the 180-degree'
turnabout. Inouye said he changed,
his mind after heavy lobbying by the,
shipbuilder, the Electric Boat Divi-
sion of General Dynamics Corp., the
Navy and senators from Connecti-
cut, home of Electric Boat.
Among its other provisions, the:
Byrd Amendment requires a con--
tractor to disclose the name and ad-s-
dress of each person paid to influ-
ence the award, the amount of the''
payment and the activity for which
the individual was paid.
However, investigators said they
found numerous exceptions and lim-
itations that exclude virtually all
lobbying from coverage.

E What a gas
United Nations inspectors hosed each other down yesterday after
inspecting mustard gas shells in Iraq. Iraq detained 44 U.N. inspectors
yesterday for the.second day in a row and demanded back videotapes
and documents said to show Iraq's nuclear weapons program.
Prof. argues in favor
of organ transplants

The committee said it compared
the $5.7 million to two laws requir-
ing public disclosure: the October
1989 Byrd Amendment, named for
its sponsor, Sen. Robert Byrd, (D-
W.Va.), and the 1946 Lobbying
Regulation Act.
The Byrd Amendment requires
disclosures by the contractors; the
1946 law requires information from
lobbyists. Reports filed for 1990
under the older law showed lobby-
ists received $388,727 from mili-
tary contractors - another way of

diously avoided."
The companies have many reasons
to lobby Congress and the Defense
Department. They bid against each
other for contracts. Their produc-
tion lines face shutdowns as
weapons technology advances. They

,

DEARBORN (AP) - Squeam-
ish family members and lawsuit-
fearing doctors are obstacles to a
free market in human organs that
would help save lives, a law
professor argued yesterday at a
conference on organ transplants.
James Blumstein of Vanderbilt
University first raised the prospect
of allowing people to sell their or-
gans in the early 1970s. In those
days, he was shunned as a social out-
cast and his ideas only whispered
about.
Now, the debate over how to get
enough kidneys, hearts. and livers for
those awaiting transplants includes
whether and how to pay for them.
That could be in cash, or in other
ways such as a break on insurance
premiums or funeral expenses.
"Incentives work," Blumstein
said. "Various concerns have been
raised by objectors. Fears, uncer-
tainty, ignorance. These deal with

the price that would be used to in-
duce supply, not with whether or
not incentives would work.
"If people are not inclined to
donate, that means you have to raise
the price."
About one in three Americans
agree on donor cards or on the back
of driver's licenses to allow their
organs to be transplanted at death.
But doctors worried about being
sued often ask for a relative's per-
mission even though they don't have
to.
It's the timing and manner in
which the question is asked that of-
ten determines the reply, said Jim
Warren, editor of Transplant News,
a Maryland-based newsletter.
Dr. Robert Sells, director of the
MerseyRegional Transplant Unit
of the Royal Liverpool Hospital in
England, challenged the ethics of
selling human organs.

U

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HAPPENING

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