-By Warner Todd Huston
Barack Obama’s Executive Order that requires federal contractors to disclose the political contributions they have made is garnering bi-partisan opposition on the Hill this month.
The order would force contractors to reveal any political donations as a condition for being allowed to bid on a contract to work for the federal government. And the order doesn’t only require the company to disclose donations but would also force the directors or company officers to reveal their personal donations as well. Naturally, this same requirement is not forced on unions. (You can see a draft of Obama’s order HERE)
This forced disclosure, however, is not sitting well with either Democrats or Republicans. Last week 21 Republican House members sent a letter to Obama denouncing this anti-free speech order.
In a letter sent to Obama on Friday, 21 Republicans, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), called the proposed executive order “a blatant attempt to intimidate, and potentially silence, certain speakers who are engaged in their constitutionally protected right to free speech.”
This week, top House Democrat Steny Hoyer joined the chorus against Obama’s executive order.
“The issue of contracting ought to be on the merits of the contractor’s application and bid and capabilities,” Hoyer told reporters at the Capitol. “There are some serious questions as to what implications there are if somehow we consider political contributions in the context of awarding contracts.”
He added, “I’m not in agreement with the administration on that issue.”
Of course, the main problem with this thing is that it wouldn’t take a big stretch of the imagination to assume that Obama would find any contractor that has donated to Republicans to be the sort of contractor that he would not want to hire for federal work. And even if that were not the case, this order might stifle companies preventing them from even applying for federal contracts because they might be afraid that their campaign donations could bring them undue notice based on politics instead of on the company’s track record and success rate at completing contracts.
Further, it simply is no business of the government what political campaigns these companies donate to. There is a little thing called political free speech in this country and we must never be required to go hat-in-hand to government and explain who we support politically before we are allowed to get work.
The DISCLOSE Act that this EO is based on has failed repeatedly in Congress and that is why Obama is lawlessly taking matters into his own hands and trying to implement the rules by presidential fiat.
Even the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is resisting this policy. And that was after the Supreme Court ruled that it was un-constitutional in the first place.
So, Obama is trying to move forward to introduce a policy that has Democrats AND Republicans against it, that has the FEC AND the U.S. Supreme Court against it, yet in the face of all this opposition, he insists on going forward. This is just one more example of how this president wants to rule by fiat and shows that he is certainly contemptuous of nearly every other branch of government.