Update: Government Contracts Only for Approved Political Donors
There is a hearing today on the draft executive order (EO) from President Obama, which would force businesses seeking government contracts to disclose political donation information. The hearing comes after the threat of a subpoena from House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-GA) and House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-GA). Even House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) opposes the order.
In addition to this threat, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), the ranking Republican on the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, along with 25 other Republican senators, sent a letter to the president asking him not to issue the EO. The letter states that:
“To ensure that taxpayers receive the best value for federal contracts, government procurements must be conducted in a manner that ensures a fair process.”
Should the president continue with this motion, it raises serious questions whether this “transparency” measure would be used to award contracts only to those businesses that contribute to the president and his party. The actual draft states:
“The Federal Government must ensure that its contracting decisions are merit-based in order to deliver the best value for the taxpayer. It is incumbent that every stage of the contracting process…be free from the undue influence of factors extraneous to the underlying merits of contracting decision making, such as political activity or political favoritism.”
By drafting this EO, the president has essentially opened up the exact can of worms he was hoping to close. Instead of a contract being awarded to whichever company offers the best value for the lowest price, the possibility arises that the contract will simply go to whoever gave the most to the party in power.
This is not how our government should operate. The Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that corporations have the right to engage in political speech and funding – this should in no way hinder them from acquiring new business contracts through the government.
As if that wasn’t enough, these same people tried last year to pass the DISCLOSE Act in order to reverse the Supreme Court’s decision, but failed. President Obama couldn’t get his way in the courts, or in Congress, so now he’s just going to rule by decree. When something doesn’t go his way he’ll bypass the legislative process.
UPDATE: Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Rob Portman (R-OH) have signed a letter to President Obama voicing their concerns over the draft executive order. With growing bipartisan support, the president should take notice and throw out this executive order.