Monday, April 25, 2011

The Sunlight Foundation provides a valuable overview of President Obama’s draft executive order that would require federal contractors to disclose their direct and indirect political spending. Indirect means donations made to other groups (like 527 committees, trade groups or c-4 organizations) with “the intention or reasonable expectation” that the money would be used for independent expenditures or electioneering communications. Some donors will likely use the “intent” language to continue to keep secret undesignated donations to multi-purpose groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, which engage in lobbying, issue advocacy and political spending. The Atlantic notes that the President’s order comes after the failure of the DISCLOSE Act and regulatory efforts to expose all the money flowing since the Citizens United ruling. Political parties, donor networks and a variety of interest groups are busy creating new conduits for the avalanche of money that is expected to smother the 2012 election. Sunlight notes that Koch Industries will be covered because it’s a federal contractor; predictably, its Congressional loyalists are calling this effort to increase disclosure an attack on free speech. Meanwhile, the Nation gives the details of the campaign package that Koch Industries sent to its employees before the 2008 election, with candidate endorsements and lessons in political correctness. While the expert quoted suggests this indoctrination was illegal before Citizens United, it’s worth noting that under North Carolina law employers have long been free to use the corporation’s money to advise employees (and stockholders) how to vote; businesses were previously barred from using those funds for candidate advocacy to the general public, but Citizens United removed that barrier.

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One Response to “Monday, April 25, 2011”

  1. Frank Burns says:

    Interesting, but how can we trust Obama any more? He was supposed to be the most transparent presidency and we see actually how intransparent he is with not sharing freedom of information requests.

    Does Obama’s order include the unions? I bet they don’t and we will see another one sided Obama edict. When he can’t get something passed through Congress, he issues these illegal executive orders.