Boeing a major lobbying player on Capitol Hill

Boeing, one of the world’s largest aircraft manufacturers, also is one of the biggest players in the Washington influence game — spending millions to lobby Congress and the executive branch each year.

Last year, Boeing’s spending on lobbying topped $15.1 million, federal records show. The company ranks No. 10 in lobbying activity in Washington since 1998, according to a tally by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. That falls way behind the big trade groups such as the US Chamber of Commerce and the American Hospital Association, but ahead of some of its competitors for the government’s lucrative defense business, such as Lockheed Martin.

Boeing has also deployed dozens of lobbyists, many working for outside firms, to help shape government policy.Further cementing the company’s Capitol Hill ties, a former Boeing lobbyist now serves as staff director on the Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

The committee on Tuesday announced it would hold a hearing at a future date about aviation safety, following Sunday’s deadly crash of a Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft on a flight from Ethiopia to Kenya.

John Keast, a former principal at Cornerstone Government Affairs, lobbied the House and Senate last year on Boeing’s behalf, according to lobbying reports filed with the Senate. Boeing spent $200,000 last year with Cornerstone, a tiny fraction of its overall lobbying bill.

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