The Center for Competitive Politics responded to passage today of Representative Tom Cole’s (R – OK) amendment to H.R. 1540, which bans executive agencies from collecting information regarding the private donations of citizens and companies to trade associations and social welfare groups. The amendment was offered in response to a proposed Executive Order that would compel government contractors to reveal this information when sending in proposals.
“This is a strong rebuke to the executive branch’s effort to bring politics into the federal contracting process and enable the creation of a Nixon-style Enemies List,” said CCP President Sean Parnell.
Although the amendment helps ensure the integrity of the federal acquisition process, it also allows citizens working for government contractors to feel safe donating to causes that may not be in favor with the current administration.
“People who work for federal contractors are American citizens who should be able to make donations to the general operations of organizations that are not political committees without the fear that this information may be used against them or their employers,” said Parnell. “There are expectations of privacy in any household, and, without the Cole amendment, President Obama’s forthcoming executive order would make people have to choose between their beliefs and the potential for retaliation by the government.”
The measure passed 261 to 163 with bipartisan support.