More Bi-Partisan Opposition to President’s Draft Executive Order
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Ahead of today’s hearing in the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, two key members of the Senate Democratic Caucus criticized the Obama administration’s proposed Executive Order that would require businesses to disclose political contributions and expenditures when making offers for federal contracts.
In a letter sent to President Obama today (PDF), Senators Joe Lieberman (ID-CT), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Susan Collins (R-ME) said:
… we are concerned that requiring businesses to disclose their political activity when making an offer risks injecting politics into the contracting process. Federal contracting law already precludes the consideration of political activity in evaluating contract offers. Under the Federal Acquisition Regulation, the award of contract must be based on the evaluation of quality, price, past performance, compliance with solicitation requirements, technical excellence and other considerations related to the merits of an offer. The requirement that businesses disclose political expenditures as part of the offer process creates the appearance that this type of information could become a factor in the award of federal contracts.
We are also concerned about the impact that this draft Executive Order may have on the federal government’s acquisition workforce. Considering that the acquisition workforce is already straining to adequately manage and oversee federal contracts, the draft Executive Order may create new, unnecessary burdens for these officials.
This follows on the heels of criticism by the #2 House Democrat, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who said just two days ago:
The issue of contracting ought to be on the merits of the contractor's application and bid and capabilities… There are some serious questions as to what implications there are if somehow we consider political contributions in the context of awarding contracts. … I'm not in agreement with the administration on that issue.