Two major pieces of legislation, the Defense Authorization and Omnibus Appropriations bill for FY 2012, contain prohibitions on requiring the disclosure of political contributions by contractors bidding on federal work. The efforts, led by Congressional Republicans in the House and Senate, were included in response to continuing threats by Congressional Democrats to put forth an AGC-opposed draft Executive Order (EO) by the Obama administration.
Congressional Republicans and industry allies have called the executive order unconstitutional and see it as an effort by the administration to use executive power to reward their supporters. AGC is concerned that forcing government contractors to disclose all political contributions would make it too easy for political appointees to punish contractors for their political views or to coerce contributions from firms. On April 29, 2011, AGC voiced these concerns in a letter to the president, and again on May 12, 2011, in testimony submitted to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on a hearing examining the proposed EO. AGC stated in both the letter and testimony that the draft EO is unnecessary, noting that there is no evidence to indicate that political contributions are influencing the award of federal contractors. AGC also pointed out that contractors are already required to disclose the vast majority of political spending and that there is already a publicly available, web-based, searchable database showing all political contributions.
AGC will continue to encourage members of Congress to oppose the draft EO and will continue to report on this developing issue.
For more information, please contact Marco Giamberardino at (703) 837-5376 or firstname.lastname@example.org.