International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

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Methodology: Windfalls of War

The Center for Public Integrity looked at U.S. companies that received U.S. government contracts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Our investigation focused on the three agencies that are responsible for awarding most of the contracts—the Department of Defense, Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development.

The Center filed 73 Freedom of Information Act requests and appeals with these agencies. In addition, the Center combed through company reports and Web sites, Securities Exchange Commission filings, news clips, online databases and government and NGO (non-government organizations) documents, to name a few resources. In addition, the Center made hundreds of phone calls and sent numerous e-mails to the companies and individuals who received the contracts as well as to the federal agencies that granted them.

To calculate campaign contribution history for the companies covered in the report, the Center compiled a database with more than nine million campaign contributions reported to the Federal Election Commission. Those contributions were made by individuals and political action committees to federal candidates, political parties and other PACs between 1990 and mid-year 2003.

For contract history, the Center used a database compiled annually by the U.S. General Services Administration. The data includes unclassified contracts worth more than $25,000 reported to the GSA by more than 60 U.S. Government, Executive Branch, departments, bureaus, agencies and commissions. The database covered fiscal years 1990 through 2002, the most recent data available.

In order to calculate the total campaign finance and contract history for each company in the study, the Center began by researching the present and past corporate structures of those companies holding contracts in Iraq or Afghanistan, identifying the current parent companies as well as any affiliated subsidiaries.

Political contributions made by individuals or political action committees affiliated with those parent companies and subsidiaries were aggregated to arrive at a single number.

Because subsidiaries were frequently bought and sold, campaign contributions were excluded if they were made during periods of time when those subsidiaries were not owned by their current parent company.

The Center used the same methodology to determine each company's history of contracting with the federal government.

The Center obtained lobbying records filed with the U.S. Congress under the Lobbying Disclosure Act, which requires companies to document how much they spend in a six-month period on lobbying, who lobbied for them and what issues they lobbied on. The records dated from January 2001 to June 2003, though not all companies had filed their 2003 forms at the time of publication.

Team

Project Manager
Maud S. Beelman, André Verlöy

Writers
Kevin Baron, Maud S. Beelman, Neil Gordon, Alan Green, Laura Peterson, Daniel Politi, André Verlöy, Jonathan Werve, Bob Williams, Brooke Williams

Researchers
Aubrey Bruggeman, Alex Cohen, Sarah Dalglish, Kristian Horvei, Alex Knott, Estelle Levresse, Adam Mayle, Sapna Patel, Genna Sankin, Susan Schaab, Katherine Wilson-Mine

Editors
Charles Lewis - Executive director
Bill Allison - Managing editor
Maud S. Beelman - Director, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
Teo Furtado - Deputy managing editor
Aron Pilhofer - Database editor
Peter Newbatt Smith - Research editor

Production Support
M. Asif Ismail, Javed Khan, Jonathan Werve

Webmaster
Han Nguyen

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