WH Working on Executive Order That Critics Say Will Stifle Political Speech
Via CNSNews.com: In what the White House calls a push for transparency, a pending executive order would require companies doing business with the federal government to disclose political contributions to independent groups, but would not place the same requirement on public employee unions or federal grant recipients that typically donate to Democrats.
Entitled the “Disclosure of Political Spending By Government Contractors,” the order would implement parts of the DISCLOSE Act, which failed to get through Congress last year. The legislation sought to restrict campaign speech after the landmark Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld the right of corporations and unions to donate to campaigns.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed Monday that work is underway on the draft order, and linked the move to President Obama’s stated commitment to transparency.
Government contractors are already required to disclose contributions to political candidates. This executive order would require the disclosure of any donations to independent groups, where conservative groups outspent liberal ones in the 2010 election.
The DISCLOSE Act was pushed by Sen. Charles Schumer (D.-N.Y.), and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). Announcing the bill at a Feb. 11, 2010 press conference, Schumer said that its provisions “will make them [corporations] think twice before spending unlimited sums to influence elections. The deterrent effect should not be underestimated.”
Hans A. von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, was skeptical of Carney’s assertion that the president was merely committed to transparency.
“If transparency is the true goal, why isn’t the proposed executive order covering any outside entity that gets federal money? It only applies to government contractors, not grant recipients like Planned Parenthood,” he told CNSNews.com. “Public employee unions are also exempt from this order.”
Ah, yes. Exempt those that vote democrat yet in the name of “transparency”, yet those that tend to donate to independent groups must disclose their donations. Glad to know that before I vote, I will be able to determine which evil corporation had an influence on my vote.