(AP) — As Boeing lobbied against a rival aerospace company to win a $35 billion government contract, its activities included a curious donation: $10,000 to the Johnstown, Pa., Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra was a favorite cause of Rep. John Murtha, the late Pennsylvania Democrat who, as a gatekeeper for the Defense Department’s budget, held a lot of influence over Pentagon contracting. Boeing ultimately won the contract to build a new military refueling tanker, after the company and its competitor donated to organizations held in favor by key Pentagon generals and lawmakers like Murtha. The payments were disclosed under a 2007 law that opened a window into more than $50 million in previously hidden spending by lobbyists and their clients, according to a compilation by the nonprofit Sunlight Foundation. Most money spent in 2009 and 2010 went to nonprofit groups that were connected to government officials or honored them.
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