The Associated Press reports:
The second-ranking House Democrat said Tuesday he opposes a White House proposal to require anyone seeking government contracts to disclose political contributions.
Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the party whip, told reporters that contractors should be chosen on the merits of their applications, their bids and their capabilities — not on their political donations.
President Barack Obama’s disclosure order, drafted in April, has not yet been issued.
Hoyer is now on the same side as one of Obama’s sharpest critics, Chairman Darrell Issa of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Issa has scheduled a hearing Thursday to hear from witnesses who believe the order would curb free speech and harm small businesses.
Hoyer told reporters, “It’s not a requirement now. I don’t think it ought to be a requirement. So I’m not in agreement with the administration on that issue.
Hoyer aligns with Republicans in his concern about the political implications of Obama’s proposal, noting “I think there are some serious questions as to what implications there are if somehow we consider political contributions in the context of awarding contracts.” It is of course an invitation to politicization and corruption of the entire process.
The partisan nature of the proposal was highlighted by a letter Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) sent to OMB director Jack Lew, pointing out that the bill — imagine this — doesn’t require disclosure by labor unions even though they receive federal grants.
Sen. Mitch McConnell(R-Ky.) has championed litigation to challenge campaign finance reform (which resulted in invalidation of key parts of McCain-Feingold and the the subsequent Democratic efforts to evade the Court’s ruling) and is objecting to the president’s executive order not only because it’s bad policy, but because it’s constitutionally suspect. His communications director Don Stewart was plainly pleased with the show of support by a key Democrat. He told me, “There is bipartisan, bicameral opposition to the administration’s proposals, bipartisan opposition to an effort that would represent an outrageous and anti-Democratic abuse of executive branch authority.” We will see if Obama has the nerve now to issue the executive order. If so, expect a legislative effort to overturn it and a court challenge.