Reporting political contributions would be bad for business, senator warns

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) warned President Obama's top procurement policy official May 25 that competition and small-business outreach would be stifled if the administration requires companies to include political contribution information in their contract bids.

“If you want more competition, there should not be an executive order that will be doing the exact opposite,” Collins, the ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said during a hearing. (Watch the hearing and read the testimony.)

The Obama administration has been circulating a draft order that would require potential contractors to say what candidates and causes they have supported with political contributions over the past two years. The order would require information from companies’ executives and managers on whom they supported with personal money, not simply the company as an entity.

Related stories:

House hearing heats up over contractor disclosure order 

Contractors required to disclose political contributions

Dan Gordon, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, testified that the administration is driving for more competition because it lowers costs and boosts the quality of service the government gets from companies.

He also said the administration wants to get more small businesses involved in the federal market.

Collins said the executive order would stop that from happening. Contractors would opt out of a competition, believing support for the opposing political party or agenda would all but end their chances for winning the contract, she said.

When asked for his personal opinion on the order, Gordon would not give it because the order is only in a draft form. However, he did say the evaluations of companies’ bids should be objective, and would not be influenced by who or what a bidder supports. Even so, a company can file a bid protest if it believes the process was compromised.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called Gordon’s answer and the administration’s assurances about political contribution information's influence in procurement “really entertaining.”

“Some of us have been around too long to accept that sort of answer,” he said.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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Reader comments

Fri, May 27, 2011

It would also mean---ESPECIALLY under administrations such as this one---that contracts would go ONLY to THEIR contributors. That's great. Company A has years of experience, training, equipment and can do it far cheaper and better but Company B that doesn't have a clue just has to contribute to a politician and, BINGO---CONTRACT AWARD!!! What kind of NUT JOBS ARE YOU PEOPLE!!! We're already turning into a socialist country. Now YOU want to take us straight into a TOTALITARIAN DICTATORSHIP. As career military I must apologize. I am so sorry I spent one day of my life wasting it on trying to defend a way of life that you idiots can't wait to destroy.

Thu, May 26, 2011

Wow,that would mean the public would be able to follow the money trail! It would be hard for smal businesses to compete? Really? I think it would enhance their chances. It might also result in contract NOT written in such away that just happened to favor a particuliar organization. The public would then know whether contibutions resulted in legislation that favored a particuliar"Slant" that just happened to be the high contributor's approach.Or contracts that where awarded to compoanies with heavy donations. NOT that that has ever happened, of course! it might hurt the dollar amount of political contributions, but that is not a bad thing!

Thu, May 26, 2011

Oh, and by the way, "WE THE PEOPLE" never have and never will sign up to giving ANY politician the right to use someone's political opinions and contributions against them and their livelihood. WE THE PEOPLE need to take control back FROM politicians and give it back to WE THE PEOPLE!!!!

Thu, May 26, 2011 San Diego

I can't believe what I'm reading. Talk about crony-capitalism and fraud and political favoritism and flat out using political power to destroy anyone with an opposing opinion, this is it. This is pure Stalin, Chavez, Castro, even HITLER tactics. This is not the FREE MARKET in a FREE COUNTRY!!! And quite frankly I am shocked at the utter stupidity and gross ignorance that anyone in their right mind could make this out to be a good thing. You people need to move to a totalitarian state for a few years before you spout this stuff.

Thu, May 26, 2011

Yeah, I'll bet McCain has been around long enough to see plenty of politicians bought and sold, and with all the lobbyists he pals around with, I'm sure he's well aware of the ROI for the corporations.

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