Keep Politics out of the Federal Contracting Process

Today the National Association of Manufacturers joined 153 other organizations in a letter supporting H.R. 2008, the “Keeping Politics Out of Federal Contracting Act of 2011.”  The legislation would preclude the White House from forcing federal agencies to require entities to disclose their political spending – as well as that of their officers and directors – as a condition of participating in the federal procurement process.

The letter was sent to Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is scheduled to consider H.R. 2008 tomorrow.

The bill is in response to an April 2011 draft Executive Order that would require disclosures of political contributions by select parties as a condition for bidding on federal contracts. The draft order is an attack on the First Amendment and suffers from severe legal and policy defects that would, if signed, immediately damage the federal contracting process.

From the letter:

The legislation reaffirms the principle, currently embodied in federal procurement laws, that the Executive Branch has an obligation to procure goods and services based on the best value for the American taxpayer, and not on political considerations. It also reaffirms the principle that the Administration cannot enact through executive fiat legislation that Congress has considered and explicitly rejected.

The NAM thanks Rep. Issa for his leadership on this issue and urges members of the Committee on Oversight and Government to approve H.R. 2008.

Erik Glavich is director of legal and regulatory policy, National Association of Manufacturers.

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