SAIC: The BIG Business Behind NAM's Cap-And-Trade Analysis

August 12, 2009 1:16 pm ET

On August 12, 2009, the National Association of Manufacturers released an "analysis" of the American Clean Energy and Security Act conducted by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). Media Matters Action Network has compiled a background document on the corporation behind the numbers.

Would A "Policy-Neutral" Organization Spend $20 Million On Lobbyists?

SAIC Claims To Be A "Policy-Neutral" Organization.

[National Association of Manufacturers, "Analysis of The Waxman-Markey Bill "The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009," 8/12/09]

If SAIC Was Truly "Policy-Neutral," Would The Company Have Spent Nearly $20 Million On Lobbyists?

SAIC Has Spent Nearly $20 Million On Lobbying Since 1998.  According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) spent $19,885,000 on lobbying activities since 1998.  [, accessed 8/12/09]


SAIC Founder J. Robert Beyster Donated $24,705 To Republicans.  According to CQMoneyline, SAIC Founder J. Robert Beyster donated $24,705 to Republican candidates and committees from 1990 to 2008.  In contrast, Beyster donated only $200 to Democrats. [CQMoneyline, accessed 8/5/09]

  • SAIC Founder J. Robert Beyster Donated Over $3,600 To Now-Jailed Duke Cunningham. According to CQMoneyline, SAIC Founder J. Robert Beyster donated $3,655 to former congressman Duke Cunningham from 1990 to 1998. Cunningham is now in prison for accepting bribes. [CQMoneyline, accessed 8/5/09; The Hill, 7/9/09]

SAIC Is A BIG Business

SAIC "Is Larger Than The Departments Of Labor, Energy, And Housing And Urban Development Combined." In an article about SAIC, Vanity Fair wrote: "With a workforce of 44,000, it is the size of a full-fledged government agency-in fact, it is larger than the departments of Labor, Energy, and Housing and Urban Development combined." [Vanity Fair, March 2007]

  • "SAIC Has Been Awarded More Individual Government Contracts Than Any Other Private Company In America." According to Vanity Fair: "SAIC has been awarded more individual government contracts than any other private company in America. The contracts number not in the dozens or scores or hundreds but in the thousands: SAIC currently holds some 9,000 active federal contracts in all. More than a hundred of them are worth upwards of $10 million apiece. Two of them are worth more than $1 billion." [Vanity Fair, March 2007]

Defense News Ranked SAIC As The 12th Largest Defense Contractor.  According to Defense News, SAIC is the 12th largest defense contractor. [Defense News, accessed 8/5/09]

SAIC Spent Over $3.7 Million On Lobbying In 2008 Alone.  According to the Center for Responsive Politics, SAIC spent $3,755,000 on lobbying activities in 2008. [, accessed 8/5/09]

SAIC's Superfund Super-Fraud

SAIC Falsified Soil And Water Samples From Superfund Sites.  According to the San Diego Union-Tribune: "Three former employees of a La Jolla laboratory yesterday pleaded guilty to charges connected to a scam to falsify results of soil and water samples that are essential to the cleanup of toxic waste dumps across the country. The former employees undertook the scheme in 1987 and 1988 while they worked for a subsidiary of Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), according to San Diego U.S. Attorney William Braniff... In announcing the pleas, Braniff said the faulty test results, which are the basis for toxic waste cleanup decisions made by the government, "put us all at risk and are totally unacceptable in our society." [San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/14/90]

  • "SAIC Ultimately Pleaded Guilty To 10 Felony Counts Of Fraud And Paid A $ 1.3 Million Fine." As reported by USA Today, "SAIC's attempts to wield influence sometimes have backfired. In 1990, when the company was under investigation for lying about environmental tests it conducted on Superfund pollution-cleanup sites, Laird wrote then-Attorney General Richard Thornburgh urging that company officials not be indicted. After the letter became public, Thornburgh proceeded with the indictment. SAIC ultimately pleaded guilty to 10 felony counts of fraud and paid a $ 1.3 million fine." [USA Today, 8/21/95]

SAIC Employees Pled Guilty To Lying To EPA And Improper Use Of Government Funds.  As reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune: "Many of the chemical tests conducted for the Environmental Protection Agency at toxic Superfund sites were falsified and the agency overcharged by private laboratories, including a Science Applications International Corp. lab here... Three former SAIC employees pleaded guilty here yesterday to making false statements and improperly converting government funds in connection with a federal probe of the local laboratory. SAIC's Environmental Chemistry Laboratory, where the Superfund tests were falsified during 1987 and 1988, was suspended for a short time and has agreed to stop conducting further EPA tests, an EPA official said. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/14/90]

SAIC Inflated Costs To Boost Profits, Milk Government Money

 SAIC Inflated Costs, Resulting In Three Times The Profit Allowed By An Air Force Contract. According to Vanity Fair, "In San Antonio, the air force awarded SAIC a $24 million contract to clean up contaminated-waste sites at Kelly Air Force Base... Working with air-force investigators, the U.S. attorney in San Antonio concluded that SAIC had in fact grossly understated profits on the contract: rather than the 8 to 10 percent profit the contract allowed, SAIC had, 'unbeknownst to the Air Force,' realized profits of three times that amount, and had submitted 'false and fraudulent statements of its expected costs and profits.'" [Vanity Fair, March 2007]

Fake It 'Til You Make It

 Unable To Fulfill Air Force Contract For LCD Screens, SAIC Faked A Prototype.  According to Vanity Fair, "a few years later SAIC was in trouble again, this time over its efforts to design a flat-panel liquid-crystal-display screen to be used as a navigational device in the cockpits of air-force fighter jets. The initial contract had been awarded in 1987, but SAIC kept going back for more money. The government would shell out millions-even as SAIC assured the air force that steady progress was being made. And in fact air-force officials had no reason to believe otherwise: they had seen what they thought was a demonstration model when SAIC officials unveiled a slick-looking compact box with a backlit screen. SAIC officials traveled to military bases around the country to show off the prototype. A respected magazine, Engineering Design News, published a photograph of the display screen on its cover. But the box was a fake. SAIC had been unable to develop the actual technology. The prototype-in effect, nothing more than a cheap video game-had been cobbled together with components taken from TV sets, computers, and everyday consumer appliances." [Vanity Fair, March 2007; emphasis added]

  • When Conscientious Employees Objected, They Were Fired By SAIC. According to Vanity Fair, "Two employees later filed whistle-blower lawsuits charging SAIC with defrauding the government. While denying any wrongdoing, in 1995 SAIC settled the suit with the government and paid a fine of $2.5 million." [Vanity Fair, March 2007]