In the wake of the Citizens United decision and the growing chorus of concern among everyone except Republicans of the scope of corporate donations to politicians, the Obama administration announced it wants to require federal contractors to publicly disclose donations to political campaigns.
The announcement was met with intense and immediate challenge from Republicans who prefer the keep the public in the dark about just who funds their campaigns and their policy initiatives.
Knowing that he would not get the support of Congress, President Obama announced that he was seeking to force such disclosures via executive order. According to White House press secretary Jay Carney, the President “believes very strongly that taxpayers deserve to know whether or not the contractors that their money is going to…how they are spending their money and how they are spending in terms of political campaigns.”
The executive order is still in the drafting stage, so at this time the details are sparse. But that has not stopped Republicans from attacking the move, calling it an attempt by the administration to muzzle critics.
Not surprisingly, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell was more concerned with the burden such disclosures would place on corporations, rather than whether or not taxpayers deserved transparency in the electoral process.
Political leaders, regardless of party affiliation, should back these transparency measures. Our democratic process depends on the kind of political accountability disclosure laws promote. Given the billions already wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan, and an ever-creeping military mission thanks to those wars, the American public should be able to hold all leaders to task for promoting policies that put the good of corporate interests ahead of the good of the taxpayer.
photo courtesy of Tracy O via Flickr