About a year ago, the Obama administration drafted a proposed executive order that would have forced potential federal contractors to disclose their political contributions, thereby introducing a political element into a bidding process that is supposed to be free of such considerations. Today, reports The Hill, the “administration has all but abandoned” the order, though Democrats have not given up on achieving the order’s objectives one way or another.
The order itself was, in fact, an attempt by the administration to accomplish through executive order what congressional Democrats had been unable to accomplish through legislation. The DISCLOSE (Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections) Act “is a campaign finance bill that requires groups that run political advertisements to disclose their top donors,” The New American reported when the bill passed the House of Representatives in 2010. “It also bans companies with government contracts worth more than $10 million from funding political advertisements. Likewise, it bars corporations that have received federal bailout money from financing political ads, as well as those with more than 20-percent foreign ownership.”
When that bill failed to pass the Senate, the Obama administration began considering an executive order to implement one of its provisions: requiring companies seeking federal contracts and their affiliates to disclose contributions to candidates, parties, or third-party political groups exceeding $5,000 in the two years prior to submitting the bid.
“But roughly 12 months later,” writes The Hill, “no final order has been issued, and supporters and critics alike say they’ve seen no signs such a change is forthcoming.”
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