In November of 2013, Washington state’s Governor Jay Inslee signed into law the largest state tax subsidy for a corporation in United States history as part of an effort to convince Boeing Company to produce the new Boeing 777X in the Evergreen State, as reported by the Washington Post.
An evaluation by the National Institute on Money in State Politics of recent lobbying reports and campaign contributions shows that Boeing has been actively involved in legislative efforts.
A close look at Boeing’s 2012 donations shows that the company gave the maximum amount ($900) to 24 Washington lawmakers, and it also gave the maximum ($1,800) to Jay Inslee, who ran for governor in 2012. Throughout 2013, Boeing spent $356,605 lobbying Washington lawmakers, and in November of that year, during a three-day special session of the legislature, Washington passed a bill that gave an estimated $8.7 billion in tax breaks to Boeing. Three months later, in February of 2014, the aircraft and defense company threw a party for Washington state lawmakers to thank them for their “efforts to land the 777X in Washington state.”
Institute data shows that the aerospace giant contributed $26,700 to candidates in Washington: $21,600 to 24 lawmakers; $3,400 to Jay Inslee and incumbent Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen; $900 to then-Representative Mary Haugen, the only recipient of Boeing’s 2012 Washington contributions who lost her reelection bid; and $800 to the incumbent insurance commissioner.
Overall, 90 percent of Boeing’s contributions to Washington candidates went to 26 incumbents who sought reelection; 10 percent went to two incumbents seeking election to a different office. Contributions were split between Democrats (63 percent) and Republicans (37 percent).
The Institute also examined Boeing’s lobbying expenses from the Washington Public Disclosure Commission’s online database. While Boeing did not contribute large sums to Washington candidates in 2012, it did put a concerted financial effort behind lobbying those lawmakers in 2013.