The House of Representatives last Wednesday passed an amendment to the Defense Department Reauthorization bill, introduced by Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), which prohibits the federal government from requesting additional campaign contribution disclosures from companies bidding on government contracts. Cole introduced the amendment in response to a leaked draft executive order from President Obama that would require greater reporting of companies' political contributions.
IDFA co-signed a letter with more than 80 associations and organizations on May 17, urging the president to refrain from curtailing the free-speech rights of companies. Current law dictates that companies must report any contributions to candidates or political parties, but it exempts donations to politically active trade associations and non-profits from reporting requirements.
The executive order "potentially turns the procurement process into a tool with which to reward political allies and punish political opponents," the joint letter stated. "The federal procurement system already has several built-in safeguards that work quite well to ensure that contract awards are based on the merits of the bid proposal."
Although the amendment succeeded in passing, its fate will rest with the passage of the Defense Department Reauthorization bill in the House and the subsequent version that will be introduced in the Senate.
For more information, contact Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 220-3553.