Republicans are getting worried that corporations might have to admit that they give money to Republicans. Much like the Chamber of Commerce is worried that corporations might have to admit that they give money to the Chamber of Commerce. They are all just very ashamed of themselves, I guess. So they’re trying to stop the Obama Administration from delivering an executive order that would force government contractors to disclose their political donations. This would have no bearing on their status as government contractors, it would merely force transparency on corporations that do business with the US government.
This will not do. And Republican lawmakers want to put a stop to it:
Many Republicans however believe that the move could allow the White House to muzzle political critics. And now they want to know exactly how Obama would go about reviewing a contractor’s political history.
Doing so “could have a chilling effect on the First Amendment rights of individuals to contribute to the political causes or candidates of their choice,” according to a letter written by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and signed by 24 other GOP senators. “Political activity would obviously be chilled if prospective contractors have to fear that their livelihood could be threatened if the causes they support are disfavored by the Administration.”
“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,” the senators write in a letter set for delivery today. “And no Americans should have to worry about whether their political activities or support will affect their ability to get or keep a federal contract or their job.”
There’s this assumption that the review of political spending would come before the granting of a contract, not after. That’s because this conspiracy about blackballing corporations who don’t pay to play is the only way the GOP position on this makes sense. We’re talking about disclosure; what individuals do with that disclosure is up to them.
Like all good conservatives looking for a legal patina for their theories, they’ve turned to John Yoo.
In an editorial former Bush-era Justice Department official Yoo and David Marston wrote for the Wall Street Journal, the authors argued that the “only purpose” of an executive order being considered by President Barack Obama to require companies seeking federal contracts to disclose political contributions “is to dangle the specter of retaliation.. and harassment.”
“If a small businesswoman wants to sell paper clips to the Defense Department, Mr. Obama would force her to reveal contributions to groups such as Planned Parenthood or the National Rifle Association. These donations are obviously irrelevant to whether she made the most reliable bid at the lowest price.”
While the editorial says that the order “represents the latest salvo in the Obama administration’s war on the First Amendment rights of its political opponents,” there’s no word from Yoo on whether the President has the executive power to torture executives to force them to disclose their political donations.
Or crush the testicles of CEOs.
There are civil service protections against firing for political reasons. The goal here is to ensure the public has an understanding of who funds their elections. John Yoo thinks that’s a bridge too far. I didn’t know he was familiar with that concept.