"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

WH Under Fire For Disclose Act Proposal

April 21st, 2011 by MarkTwain · No Comments

Reuters, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal all report today on the story former FEC commissioner Hans von Spakovsky broke at Pajamas Media yesterday about the Obama administration’s attempt to circumvent Congress and implement portions of the partisan DISCLOSE Act by executive order.

The Washington Post writes, “President Obama is considering an executive order that would force government contractors to disclose their donations to groups that participate in political activities, a move Republicans slammed Wednesday as an attempt to restrict political speech. White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that the administration has a draft proposal and would not offer details. . . . The provision is similar to one in a bill that Democrats pushed before the midterm elections called the Disclose Act.”

The Wall Street Journal adds, “The White House casts the proposal as an effort to improve transparency and accountability, but Republicans charged that the rules would inject politics into what should be an unbiased procurement process. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that President Barack Obama ‘intends to pursue’ the executive order, but said details have not yet been settled.”

The WSJ also provides some details of the executive order: “The draft executive order would require that companies seeking federal contracts disclose political contributions made in the prior two years to organizations that seek to influence elections through independent expenditures, which are allowed to remain anonymous under current law. Companies would also have to disclose contributions to federal candidates and political parties, which already are required to disclose contributions. The draft rules would cover a company’s officers, directors, affiliates and subsidiaries.”

In a statement yesterday, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell blasted the proposal, saying, “Just last year the Senate rejected a cynical effort to muzzle critics of this administration and its allies in Congress. Now, under the guise of ‘transparency,’ the Obama administration reportedly wants to know the political leanings of any company or small business, including those of their officers and directors, before the government decides if they’ll award them federal contracts.  Let me be clear: No White House should be able to review your political party affiliation before deciding if you’re worthy of a government contract. And no one should have to worry about whether their political support will determine their ability to get or keep a federal contract or keep their job.”

Aside from the troubling prospect of the government picking winners and losers in the contracting process based on political affiliations, von Spakovsky pointed out another serious problem with the proposal in his report yesterday. “[N]ote that these disclosure requirements will only apply to companies that make bids on government contracts. Federal employee unions that negotiate contracts for their members worth many times the value of some government contracts are not affected by this order. Neither are the recipients of hundreds of millions of dollars of federal grants. Clearly, this administration is not interested in increasing ‘transparency and accountability’ when it comes to forcing union leaders or the heads of liberal advocacy organizations such as Planned Parenthood from disclosing the personal political contributions they make to candidates running for federal office.”

Related:

Rasmussen Reports:

35% Say Obama Is Too Cooperative

22% Say U.S. Heading in Right Direction, Ties Lowest Level of Obama’s Presidency

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