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Cash in on This "Invisible" $33 Billion Business

U.S. defense contractors don’t make a habit of sending “thank you” letters to America’s enemies.

But if they did, the corporate leaders at The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) might want to look up Vladimir Putin‘s address – before running to the Hallmark store.

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    Ron Paul, Maxine Waters Among 248 House Members Lining the Pockets of Relatives

    Blunt libertarian Rep. Ron Paul, R-TX, and outspoken liberal Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA, would seem to have little in common.

    But Ron Paul and Maxine Waters do share at least one dubious distinction. They both like to put family members on the payroll.

    In terms of numbers, Ron Paul has enriched more relatives - six -- than any other House member over the past two election cycles.

    Though Maxine Waters had just two relatives on the payroll, her daughter and her grandson, she was more generous than Paul. Waters showered her relatives with a combined $495,650, while Paul doled out $304,599.

    The unlikely pair features prominently in a new report from the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), "Family Affair," that details how 248 members of the House of Representatives have been using campaign funds to pad the pockets of their relatives and, in some cases, themselves.

    And as is often the case with such Washington shenanigans, no rules were technically broken.

    "A lot of what was done is legal, but a large segment of the contributing population would be surprised to see that their donations went straight into the pockets of congressional family members," Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director, told the Los Angeles Daily News.

    "There's all sorts of ways members of Congress can further their family's financial interests, which amounts to nepotism."

    The widely known Ron Paul and Maxine Waters demonstrate that such practices are bipartisan, although Republicans cited in the CREW report do outnumber Democrats 143 to 105.

    The key findings in the CREW report, which focuses on the 2008 and 2010 election cycles, paint a picture of lawmakers unabashedly using their positions to enrich family members as well as themselves:

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