Senate GOP to White House: Don't check political contributions of contractors

More than two dozen Senate Republicans on Tuesday warned President Obama that they oppose a planned executive order (EO) requiring contractors to disclose their political contributions before they can be awarded a federal contract.

"We have reviewed a purported draft of the EO and are greatly concerned with its content," they wrote in a letter signed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and 26 other GOP senators.

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"Supposedly to advance the goal of keeping politics out of the contracting process, the draft EO would make political considerations a part of every federal contract offer," the letter states. "We urge you not to issue the draft EO."

Republicans said the EO would require contractors to submit information about activities "protected by the First Amendment," including details about political contributions from third parties. They said a requirement to furnish this information would have a chilling effect on the rights everyone has to participate in the political system.

"No White House should be able to review your political party affiliation or the causes you support before deciding if you are worthy of a government contract," they wrote. "And no Americans should have to worry about whether their political activities or support will affect their ability to keep a federal contract or their job."

The letter asked Obama to answer several questions, including how information about political contributions would affect decisions about how to award contracts, whether political appointees would be involved in these decisions and why it is considering issuing the EO.