IDFA and more than 80 other trade associations and organizations have urged President Obama not to sign an executive order that would require companies to disclose their political spending as a condition for bidding on federal contracts. In a letter sent yesterday to the White House, the groups said the draft order would politicize the procurement process and unfairly limit the ability of businesses to participate fully and freely in the political process.
"The proposed order will either encourage covered speakers to refrain from exercising their constitutional speech rights so as to avoid jeopardizing their competitiveness for federal contracts, or it will encourage speakers to alter their political message in ways perceived to increase their chances of being awarded federal contracts," the letter stated.
Companies currently are required by law to report any contributions they make to candidates and political parties. But they do not have to report money they give to trade associations and non-profit organizations that are active in politics.
The order aims to make every company that wants to contract for business with the federal government to disclose its political contributions to associations. In addition, the order would reach beyond companies, forcing officers and directors to disclose individual contributions that they drew from personal funds.
Calling the order "a new and oppressive regulatory scheme," the groups said it would unfairly target businesses while allowing unions and organizations seeking grants or other types of aid to exercise their First Amendments rights without similar restrictions.
Organizations that signed the letter along with IDFA include the American Bakers Association, the National Restaurant Association, the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. For a complete list, read the letter here.
For more information, contact Jerry Slominski, IDFA senior vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy, at email@example.com.