U.S. Chamber To Rank Politicians On Whether They Vote To Keep Contractor Donations Secret

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has written a letter to members of the House telling them that voting for federal contractors to be more transparent about their political spending will negatively impact their legislative scorecard.“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly supports legislative proposals to ensure that political spending — or the lack thereof — continues to play no role in federal contracting decisions,” the Chamber’s R. Bruce Josten wrote in the letter sent on Wednesday.

“Therefore, the Chamber supports amendments that have been offered by Rep. Cole to several Fiscal Year 2012 appropriations bills considered by the full House, and any similar amendments should they be offered to the remaining FY 2012 appropriations bills,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, more than sixty members of the House signed a letter sent to the White House by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) which expressed strong support for a draft executive order which would require companies that get taxpayer dollars to disclose their political expenditures.

Disclosure, the letter says, “will not politicize the procurement process — it will improve it.”

“Political expenditures are already well-known to those that make them and to the officials who benefit,” the letter states. “With disclosure, the public will have access to this information as well, allowing them to judge whether contracts were awarded based on merit. A meritorious procurement system is the only responsible use of taxpayer money, making this a deficit reduction effort as much as a campaign finance reform issue.”

Both the Chamber and House Republicans have argued that the proposed executive order — first leaked in April — is a plot by the Obama administration to silence political opponents.

Supporters of the measure have said the executive order — by bringing donations out into the open — would actually discourage federal contracting officials from doing favors for contractors based on their donations to third-party political groups.

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