Defense Industry-Backed Lawmakers Voted to Continue Police Militarization Program

admin | August 14, 2014

Local law enforcement around the country has become more heavily armed through partnerships with the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. One of the key programs, the 1033 Program, allows the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) under the Department of Defense to transfer military equipment to civilian police.

In June, the House of Representatives voted on an amendment from Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) that sought to partially defund the 1033 Program. The amendment failed on a bipartisan vote of 62-355.

  • Representatives voting to continue funding the 1033 Program have received, on average, 73 percent more money from the defense industry than representatives voting to defund it. 
  • Fifty-nine representatives received more than $100,000 from the defense industry from January 1, 2011 - December 31, 2013. Of those only four supported defunding the 1033 Program.

As the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) noted in a recent report, "it appears that the DLA can simply purchase property from an equipment or weapons manufacturer and transfer it to a local law enforcement agency free of charge." The ACLU states that 36 percent of the equipment transferred under the program is brand new (pg. 26).

May 1, 2015 Update: The data contained in this post at the date of publishing, August 14, 2014, reflected the most up to date campaign finance filings available. Due to amended filings, the amount of money that representatives voting to continue funding the 1033 Program received, on average, is actually 70 percent more money from the defense industry than representatives voting to defund it, not 73 percent. To view the most the up to date data, click here.

Methodology: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions from PACs and employees of Defense aerospace contractors, Defense electronics contractors, Defense shipbuilders, Defense-related services, Ground-based & other weapons systems, Defense Research & Development, and Defense to members of the House of Representatives, from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2013. Contributions data source:

Image credit: U.S. Air Force/Wikimedia Commons

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