Big Business Still Fighting Like Mad Against Disclosure EO*
by Gary Therkildsen*
Jun 17, 2011
On Wednesday, a veritable who's who of business interests wrote to the Senate Armed Services Committee to cheerlead an anticipated amendment from Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rob Portman (R-OH). Expected during markup of the fiscal year (FY) 2012 Senate defense authorization act, the amendment would prohibit the Department of Defense (DOD) from implementing President Obama's draft executive order (EO) on contractor disclosure, should he sign it.
With dim prospects of passing stand-along legislation, it seems opponents of the president’s draft disclosure EO are throwing everything they have against the wall and hoping something sticks. Republicans have now added anti-disclosure amendments to the FY 2012 House financial services appropriations bill and the House defense authorization bill.
It’s likely that these amendments will be stripped out by the Senate or killed in conference when the two chambers hash out differences between the bills, but opponents hope that by sticking anti-disclosure language in as many bills as possible that one of the amendments might get through.
Of course, any surviving language would have to get past President Obama’s veto pen, but opponents want to force the president to make the tough choice between rejecting an anti-disclosure amendment and implementing an important funding or authorization bill.
In response to Big Business’ note to the Senate Armed Services Committee, OMB Watch sent our own letter voicing strong opposition to the Collins-Portman amendment, observing:
The contractor disclosure draft executive order under consideration by President Obama is a step in the right direction to mitigate the effects of the millions of dollars of political campaign contributions by Big Business that will flood federal elections as a result of the Citizens United decision.
Which, as Ben Freeman explained recently, is why the bevy of trade groups – everyone from the American Frozen Food Institute to the Wyoming Stock Growers Association – signed onto the industry letter: the very same entities that are resisting disclosure have a stake in ensuring that the public is unaware of the undue influence they garner through contributions.
*The Senate Armed Services Committee voted to approve the Collins-Portman amendment and it is now included in the Senate's FY 2012 defense authorization act. However, the committee has yet to release the amendment's final language (we hear changes were made) or the vote tally.
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