As Jessica Pieklo reported two weeks ago, President Obama is working on an executive order that would require federal contractors to publicly disclose donations to political campaigns.
While this type of disclosure is ideal for the American public and would help to significantly cut down on the pay-to-play situation that often happens when companies donate to the right political campaign in order to secure a government contract, many in Washington are biting back at the order.
The United States Chamber of Commerce — a big business lobbying organization that, despite its misleading name, is not actually a government agency — has been speaking out and promising to do whatever it takes to make sure that the order doesn’t go through. “Whatever it takes” could be quite a lot as the Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest lobbying organizations in the U.S., spending more money than any other group on lobbying every year.
Its easy to see why the Chamber of Commerce would want to stop the order; it would effect a large number of their big business clients. Corporations often want to keep their political spending quiet, hoping to avoid the negative press and boycotts like the one Target was hit with after their donation to an openly anti-gay candidate was leaked to the public.
That kind of back-door spending can be harmful to the American public, however, as the secret donations and lobbying can sway lawmakers to do what’s best for big business and not the people. Our government is supposed to be for the people, but when corporations have the biggest wallets and no restrictions on spending, most will try to buy their way into Washington and make sure that their needs are met before ours.
President Obama’s disclosure order will make it easier to track campaign donations and make sure that government contracts, paid with American tax dollars, are given to those who deserve them, not just those who can buy them. In order to know that our government is doing what is best for us, we need to be able to track who is funding campaigns and make sure that the corruption and greed that is too often found in Washington is stopped.
I hope that President Obama can stand up to the Chamber of Commerce and their lobbyists and do what’s right for the American public.
TAKE ACTION: To tell President Obama to stand strong against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, sign the petition here: Support President Obama’s Fight for Corporate Disclosure.
Photo Credit: The U.S. Army via Flickr
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