Grayson Amendment Targeting Militarized Police Spotlights Defense Donor Sway

May 24, 2015
(WASHINGTON D.C.) – The claim that members of Congress who voted against a Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) amendment to de-militarize the police had received significantly more in defense contractor political donations than those who had backed it was rated "Mostly True" by PolitiFact.
In June of 2014, Grayson proposed an amendment to a defense appropriations bill that sought to shut down a federal program which directed military surplus equipment to local police departments, resulting in more armored vehicles, helicopters and bazookas on our streets.
It was shot down 62-355. But the group MapLight looked closer at that vote breakdown, and found that those who voted against the Grayson amendment got 73 percent more in defense industry donations than those who backed the measure.
Of course, the military-style crackdown that was soon unleashed on protestors in Ferguson, Mo., would change how many Americans viewed this very issue. After seeing those disturbing images on TV, it took President Obama less than a year later to basically enact that same Grayson amendment in the form of an executive order.
But the Grayson amendment vote in 2014 certainly helped spark this questioning. And PolitFact looked into MapLight’s findings, rating this claim by the group “mostly true:”
“The U.S. representatives that voted to keep militarizing the police received 73 percent more campaign money from the defense industry” than those who voted against it.
Despite the lopsided vote last year, Grayson isn’t giving up.
“I’ll be introducing my amendment again, and I’m hoping for a different conclusion this year,” Grayson told TIME magazine last week. “We must make sure that our streets are not war zones.”
For more on PolitiFact’s analysis on the defense industry donation claim, watch here.