Share story

WASHINGTON — Motorola executives don’t talk much about their efforts to win friends in high places, but a trail of public records provides the outlines of the company’s attempts to cultivate loyalty and befriend key government decision-makers.

The firm has recruited law enforcement and national intelligence chiefs to its corporate board.

Its foundations donated or pledged to donate more than $26 million over the six years ending Dec. 31, 2011, to nonprofits formed by law-enforcement and firefighting interests, a McClatchy analysis found.

It has contributed nearly $2 million over the last decade to the Republican and Democratic governors associations, which in turn helped foot the re-election costs of governors whose administrations awarded Motorola big contracts.

This week, save 90% on digital access.

Motorola, which now operates independently as Motorola Solutions, has spent upward of $60 million on federal lobbying over the last decade and untold sums lobbying states.

Motorola and its foundations have been major benefactors of police chief associations. They’ve also bankrolled a leading emergency-communications advocacy coalition.

No evidence has surfaced that any of the donations by Motorola’s foundations were made as part of explicit exchanges for support in winning business.

However, such donations are unusual for a radio company, and they create an appearance of cozy relationships with people who can influence contract awards.

A prime example of how Motorola enlarges its presence is the way its foundation supported a new National Law Enforcement Museum, due to open in the nation’s capital in 2016.

With a $3 million check, the Motorola Solutions Foundation became the museum’s first donor. Last year, the company and its foundation pledged a total $15 million in cash and equipment

In return, a sign on the museum facade will state it is located “at the Motorola Solutions Foundation Building,” with Motorola Solutions’ logo on display at an exhibit of a 911 call center featuring its two-way radios.

Executives of the museum’s three biggest donors — Motorola, DuPont and Target — have seats on the museum fund’s board, where they can hobnob with officials of national police groups.

Motorola’s representative on the board: Senior Vice President Karen Tandy, the former head of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

A spokesman for Motorola Solutions would neither comment on the company’s largesse nor on its hefty lobbying expenditures.

Custom-curated news highlights, delivered weekday mornings.