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Scanner Makers Pick Up Lobbying Efforts

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- A pair of companies with government contracts to provide body scanners for airport screening boosted their lobbying budgets significantly over the past five years, according to a USA Today report.

L-3 Communications (LLL - Get Report) spent $4.3 million on lobbying in the first nine months of 2010, according to the article, up from a total of $2.1 million in 2005 and $5.5 million in 2009. L-3 has seen revenue of $39.7 million from the sale of body scanners to the government, USA Today said.

Rapiscan Systems, a unit of OSI Systems (OSIS - Get Report), spent on a much smaller scale but has actually generated more revenue as it's sold $41.2 million worth of its machines to the government, according to USA Today. The article says the company has spent $271,500 on lobbying so far in 2010, compared to $80,000 in 2005 and $440,000 in 2009.

The Transportation Security Administration stepped up the use of body scanners and alternately, more thorough pat-down procedures at the beginning of November, and has been heavily criticized of late with even President Obama weighing in over the weekend to say he understands why people are frustrated with the heavier screening procedures.

TSA Administrator John Pistole issued a statement on Sunday striking back a bit, saying the TSA is "constantly evaluating and adapting our security measures, and as we have said from the beginning, we are seeking to strike the right balance between privacy and security."

L-3's revenue totaled $15.62 billion in fiscal 2009 as the New York-based defense contractor make a wide variety of aircraft, communications and electronic systems and components. OSI is much smaller, reporting revenue of $595.1 million for its fiscal year 2009 ended in June.

L-3 shares closed Monday at $70.94, down 36 cents, while OSI's stock finished the session up 66 cents, or almost 2%, at $35.88. Year-to-date, the stocks are down 18% and up nearly 30% respectively.

-- Written by Michael Baron in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Michael Baron.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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