Democrats call for disclosure of vendor political contributions


The Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling opened the floodgates for political spending by corporations, and ever since Democrats have been looking for ways to slow it down. Among them is a call for donation disclosure requirements for companies that do business with the federal government. Over 60 Democrats in the House have called on President Barack Obama to issue an executive order to that effect.

The letter refers the President to his own draft of such an order dated 4/13/11, and essentially asks him to go for it. “We stand ready to work with you on this important accountability measure for taxpayers, confident that more transparency, not less, places us on the right side of history.”

The letter cites quotes from both current Republican congressional leaders, both of whom supported disclosure. They quoted a Mitch McConnell (R-KY) quote from 2000 and a John Boehner (R-OH) quote from 2007, and wonder whatever happened to Republican support for the concept.

They noted a passage in Justice Kennedy’s majority statement in Citizens United itself which supports the ultimate constitutionality of disclosure. Kennedy wrote, “The First Amendment protects political speech and disclosure permits citizens and shareholders to react to the speech of corporate entities in the proper way. This transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages.”

According to the Washington Post, Anna Eshoo (D-CA) was the driving force behind the effort.