White House Shelves Executive Order For Federal Contractor Political Spending
The White House has all-but abandoned a push to require federal contractors disclose their political spending, according to Public Citizen's Craig Holman, who has been meeting with the Administration for months and had hoped that the White House would issue the order early in 2012.
In the campaign finance reform world, requiring disclosure is hardly revolutionary. It comes after political activities occur. In some cases that conceals the actual donations or spending until after Election Day. Still, the prospect of an executive order was seen as a tangible step by campaign reform activists, many of whom had been attending meetings at the White House since last spring, when the order was first contemplated and a draft was leaked.
Holman told The Hill that the initiative might resurface after the November Election. However, that is putting a brave face on what is obviously a big disappointment and hardly a radical step. After all, in the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United campaign finance decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy praised disclosure, saying such transparency, at least theoretically, would help the public know who was supporting candidates and causes.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has opposed the executive order, complaining that it would have been government overreach. In the meantime, its donors have given millions to the its various political committees, some of whom are not even required under current law to disclose their donations.