House Republicans have threatened to introduce legislation to block an executive order that would have government contractors disclose their political contributions if President Obama goes ahead with it.
In a letter sent Monday to the president, 43 members of the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) asked Obama to withdraw the draft order. They say it would politicize the federal contracting process and erode public trust in the government.
“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 says. “Consequently, public distrust in the federal contracting process would increase, as losing contract bidders could then point to the differences in their disclosed contributions and those of their competitors as evidence of bias.”
Further, if Obama does sign off on the draft order, the lawmakers wrote, “we would immediately introduce legislation in the House of Representatives to prevent it from taking effect.”
The RSC letter was sent on the same day that more than 80 business groups wrote to Obama also asking him to drop the draft order.
Despite opposition from business, the GOP and even some Democrats, including House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.), the White House can look to support from watchdog groups on the draft order. More than 30 public interest groups have written to Obama asking him to sign the draft order because they believe it would help shed some light on outside political groups that haven’t disclosed their donors.
The draft order comes after voters were swamped in advertising last election from groups that didn’t have to disclose their donors.
That followed the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in January 2010, which allowed corporations and unions to spend without restrictions on electioneering activities. The White House and Democrats tried to counter that decision by passing the Disclose Act, which would have had outside groups disclose their donors, but that stalled in the Senate last year.