Executive Order on Corporate Spending Disclosure Coming?

AlterNet's Steven Rosenfeld (h/t Election Law Blog):

“There’s a lot of movement at the White House,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen. “I just had a meeting at the White House counsel’s office, trying to encourage them to move forward with the executive order. They have the perfect window of opportunity to get the executive order done.”

“It’s simple—any company that is paid with taxpayer dollars should be required to disclose political contributions,” said Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., who has pushed for the White House to issue the order. “With public dollars come public responsibilities, and I hope President Obama will issue his executive order right away.”

The order, if issued, would likely be the only campaign finance initiative to emerge from Washington this year as nothing is expected from Congress.

Expect to hear a lot of squawking about this from Republicans and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, arguably one of the biggest benefactors of undisclosed corporate donations.

"Many of the government contractors that would be captured under the executive order probably are the big contributors to the Chamber of Commerce, so as a result, the chamber is pursuing their battle against this with extreme vigilance," said Craig Holman, lobbyist for the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, one of 30 organizations that sent Obama a letter last week urging him to sign the order.

Nonprofit 501(c) groups, as the third-party groups are legally known, plowed at least $134 million from secret donors into the last election — $119 million of which was spent by GOP allies, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

The order would require disclosure of any contribution over $5,000, and has the signature support of 62 House Democrats.  Worth noting in advance of the pearl clutching over corporate free-speech, the information is mostly available already.  The order would simply centralize the info in one public database, and clarify penalties for non-compliance.

Tags: Citizens United, Corporate Contributions, Elections, Executive Order (all tags)

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