Hoyer Breaks With Obama on Disclosure of Campaign Contributions
Washington (CNSNews.com) – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said he opposes a proposed executive order from President Barack Obama that would require companies to disclose campaign contributions when applying for federal contracts. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said he also is against the order.
“I am not in agreement with the administration on that issue,” Hoyer told reporters at his weekly press briefing on Tuesday. “It's not a requirement now. I don't think it ought to be a requirement."
Cantor expressed similar opposition, saying he agreed with Hoyer that political donations should not be a part of the federal contracting process.
“Certainly, I am in agreement with the Democratic Whip on this,” Cantor told reporters at his Tuesday briefing on Capitol Hill. “I don’t even think there is any precedent to require individuals seeking to do business with the government to disclose their political contributions.”
“I would look to work with the Democratic Whip on this,” said the Republican Cantor.
At issue is a draft executive order from the White House that would require companies applying for federal contracts to disclose contributions to independent political groups. Corporations are already barred from giving to political candidates.
The new order would extend those requirements to donations made to independent political groups, as well as to the donations of their executives and subsidiaries to political parties and independent organizations.
“The issue of contracting ought to be on the merits of the contractor's application and bid and capabilities,” Hoyer said. “There are some serious questions as to what implications there are if somehow we consider political contributions in the context of awarding contracts.”
The draft executive order specifically would require government contractors to disclose the following:
-- “All contributions or expenditures to or on behalf of federal candidates, parties or party committees made by the bidding entity, its directors or officers, or any affiliates or subsidiaries within its control.”
-- “Any contributions made to third party entities with the intention or reasonable expectation that parties would use those contributions to make independent expenditures or electioneering communications.”
Concerning the proposed executive order, Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), said in a statement: “President Obama’s plan to inject politics into the federal contracting process through an executive order is bad policy. Further, the matter already has been rejected by Congress.”
“While the NAM does not engage in political activity or have a political action committee, we are committed to protecting the First Amendment rights of manufacturing companies who participate in the government contracting process,” said Timmons. “The draft order would give this or any future Administration unchecked authority to discriminate against certain companies based on their past donations or engagement. This move is a sweeping effort to control personal political involvement through coercion.”