Obama Administration Wants Political Litmus Test For Those Bidding On Government Contracts

Transparency isn’t always motivated by the purest of intentions. “As part of an application for a government contract, the White House wants to require the company to report all the company’s political activity,” writes Tim Carney. “The administration presents this as a way to increase transparency. It strikes me as a way to further politicize the process of government contracts.”

From The Hill:

If implemented, the order would have a company bidding for a federal contract disclose their contributions to parties and candidates as well as donations to “third party entities” that spend their funds on “independent expenditures and electioneering communications,” according to a copy of the draft order obtained by The Hill.

The draft order seems geared toward non-profit groups that spent vast sums campaigning in the last election without disclosing their donors. Contributions to parties and candidates are already covered by Federal Election Commission rules, but donations to non-profit groups are not.

Transparency is, obviously, important. But this smacks of a political litmus test. Before a given administration approves your bid you have to disclose who you’ve been supporting politically? Why should politics matter for the bidding process?

It seems to me that the only factors that should matter should be things like competence and cost. Can they deliver on their bid, and is their bid cost effective. Where the company may stand politically is irrelevant.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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