House Republicans urge Obama to withdraw disclosure order

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More than 40 members of the conservative HouseRepublican Study Committee have urged President Obama to withdraw a proposed executive order that would require applicants for federal contracts to disclose their political contributions.

In a joint letter 43 RSC members sent to Mr. Obama on Monday, the lawmakers called the plan “unnecessary” and that it “overreaches into the personal political activities of companies’ officers and directors in an area federal law already governs.”

“Instead of improving the federal procurement process to become more objective, the proposed executive order would increase political considerations as a determinative factor in how federal contracts are awarded,” the letter said.

Rep. Todd Rokita, Indiana Republican and an RSC member who signed the letter, called the proposal “a cynical attempt to inject politics into federal government contracting under the guise of transparency and accountability.”

“It will create an ‘enemies list’ that the administration and their liberal allies will use to punish private citizens and their employers,” he said.

The White House has declined to comment specifically on the proposal cause it is only in draft form. If signed by the president, the executive order would make many provisions of the so called Disclose Act, which failed in 2010, law by fiat.

Daniel I. Gordon, administrator of the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Federal Procurement Policy, told the House oversight committee last week the administration is “100 percent committed to a merit-based contracting process that meets the highest standards of integrity and transparency.”

Political contributions by law aren’t taken into consideration when the federal government awards contracts, and Mr. Gordon said that would remain the case.

“There simply is no place for politics in federal acquisition,” he said.

The president’s proposal follows a failed attempt last year by congressional Democrats to push through the Disclose Act, which would have imposed strict disclosure requirements on campaign donations.

The failed legislation was a direct response to the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which struck down most limits on corporate and union spending in elections on the grounds that they violated First Amendment guarantees of free speech.

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