Here is the message the Obama administration proposes sending to businesses: Whether you are a small, family-owned company or a large corporation, if you want to do business with the federal government, you had better think twice before you contribute to political candidates or causes.I couldn't have said it better.
The White House has proposed an executive order that would discourage some businesses from competing for government contracts and chill the First Amendment rights of executives and directors. A draft of the order, titled "Disclosure of Political Spending by Government Contractors," would in fact infuse politics into the contracting process.
In true Orwellian fashion, the draft order suggests that the only way to keep politics out of the contracting process is to include political information with every contract offer. If the White House gets its way, federal agencies would have to collect information on the campaign contributions and other political expenditures of potential contractors before a contract could be awarded. This far-reaching order would apply not only to contributions made by the contracting company but also to contributions made by its directors, officers and affiliates. . .
It simply doesn’t pass the straight-face test for this administration to suggest that such a dramatic change is needed to remove politics from the federal contracting process. Requiring disclosure of one’s political activities and leanings as part of that process would make it inevitable that politics would play a role in the award of federal contracts.
If more transparency is truly the goal, why don’t these requirements apply to organizations receiving federal grants? Campaign contributions to candidates and political committees already are required to be reported to the Federal Election Commission and, with a click of a mouse, can be viewed on FEC.gov.
A proposal that stifles First Amendment rights and politicizes the contracting process is a dangerous and costly step backward as we work to ensure that American taxpayers get the best value in the marketplace.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Senator Susan Collins (R-Me) in the May 19th Washington Post: