Lockheed Martin subsidiary allegedly misappropriated public funds to lobby Congress for a contract extension

The contractor that manages and operates Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) in Albuquerque, US, has agreed to pay the US federal government almost $4.8 million (£3 million) to settle allegations that it misappropriated public monies for lobbying activities.

The Sandia corporation – a subsidiary of the defence, science and engineering giant Lockheed Martin – is accused of using federal funds to petition Congress to extend its contract with the US Department of Energy to operate Sandia Labs, without a competitive tender process.

‘The money allocated by Congress for the Sandia National Laboratories is designed to fund the [laboratories’] important mission, not to lobby Congress for more funding,’ said Benjamin Mizer, who heads the Justice Department’s civil division.

At the time, Sandia believed its actions ‘fell within allowable cost guidelines,’ states Heather Clark, a spokeswoman for SNL and the Sandia corporation. However, in hindsight, she says Sandia ‘acted too early and too independently’. The settlement will be paid from the $26 million fee that Lockheed Martin earned for operating the Sandia labs in 2014.