The President is about to issue an Executive Order requiring the reporting of political donations by companies and contractors over $5000. This is direct opposition to the recent Supreme Court ruling. In other words, the President is about to overrule SCOTUS. The power assumed by the Executive Branch on this issue does an end-run around SCOTUS. If that isn’t enough, unions will be exempt from such reporting. This is a direct assault on private enterprise.
From TPM on the left: Republicans are predictably (editor’s note, here’s where the subtle left comes through) pushing back against President Obama’s proposed executive order requiring federal contractors to disclose their political donations to third-party groups.
House GOP leaders and 19 other Republicans sent a letter to Obama Friday urging him not to issue the executive order, arguing it would introduce politics into the federal-government contracting practice and stifle political speech.
“This proposed EO seems like a blatant attempt to intimidate, and potentially silence certain speakers who are engaged in their constitutionally protected right to free speech,” the House Republicans wrote.
In addition to the free speech constitutional issues, Republicans are assailing the stated goal of the executive order under consideration — that it is meant as a means to keep the federal contracting process free of undue political influence. In fact, its critics argue, it will do just the opposite.
“By requiring [the political donations of contractors] to be disclosed to federal agencies prior to the award of a contract, the proposed EO feeds into the notion that the granting or the denial of an award may have been based on whether the Administration viewed the applicant as a political support or a political enemy, further driving the cynicism American have in [sic] their government.”
Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and 19 other Republicans, including several committee chairmen, signed the letter.
The only problem with the logic is that, up until early 2010, federal contractors and all businesses had to disclose their political activity. Before the Supreme Court’s landmark Citizen’s United ruling, federal contractors and all companies that donated or spent money on elections were forced to set up a political action committee and disclose their campaign finances to the Federal Election Committee…” (What is missing in this point is that the reigning political party can and does use it to boycott and stifle businesses who dare to contribute to the opposition. Unions are always exempt. Read here: TPM
From the Chamber of Commerce: The lobbyist, R. Bruce Josten, said in an interview that the powerful business bloc “is not going to tolerate” what it saw as a “backdoor attempt” by the White House to silence private-sector opponents by disclosing their political spending.
While no final decision has been announced, the White House has acknowledged that Mr. Obama is considering issuing an executive order requiring all would-be federal contractors to disclose direct and indirect political spending of more than $5,000. The order could, for instance, force a military contractor or an energy company seeking federal work to report money it gave to the Chamber of Commerce or another advocacy group to help finance political ads and expenditures.
After tens of millions of dollars in anonymous political spending flooded the 2010 elections following a landmark Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, Democrats tried to pass a bill known as the Disclose Act to require greater reporting of political spending, only to see it blocked by Senate Republicans. Democrats are now turning to other means, including the possible White House order and a lawsuit filed last week against the Federal Election Commission, to achieve similar ends.
When asked about the possible order this week, the White House spokesman, Jay Carney, said, “What the president is committed to is transparency, and he certainly thinks that the American taxpayer should know where his or her money is going.” The sparring over the issue disrupts several months of relative calm between the White House and business leaders…Mr. Josten said that the order as now drafted would also stifle free speech rights for businesses that worked with the government by subjecting them to harassment and protests if their political spending were disclosed. As one example, he pointed to the Target Corporation, which was the object of boycotts and protests at its stores last year after reports said that the company gave $150,000 to a Minnesota business group that supported a Republican candidate opposed to gay marriage. ‘This is meant to have a chilling effect,” he said of the disclosure plan…'”Read here: Chamber of Commerce