Contractor contributions battle gets contentious

Wednesday - 5/18/2011, 10:31am EDT

Kevin Bogardus, reporter, The Hill

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

House Republicans are asking President Obama to withdraw his draft order that would require government contractors to disclose their political contributions when competing for federal contracts.

"He could sign the executive order today, tomorrow, at any point, and essentially it would go into effect," Kevin Bogardus, reporter for The Hill newspaper told Federal News Radio.

Republicans have threatened to immediately offer legislation to stop it. One problem, said Bogardus, "it'd probably pass the House, but I could see it stall in the Senate."

Instead, said Bogardus, a "real possibility for blocking this, or at least stalling it, would be a lawsuit. There are several different business groups and trade associations who can't stand the thought of this order and some of them have threatened legal action if the President does sign the order."

As opposition grows to the requirement, Bogardus noted the White House's hesitation in pushing it forward. "I think that the White House is very sensitive to any criticism it gets and it's interesting that this has been out there for three weeks and they still haven't signed it and opposition continues to grow to it every day."

First "it was just the U.S. Chamber of Commerce," who objected. "And then we saw a letter from more than 80 business groups come through saying they wanted the President to abandon the order."

The main objection to the order, according to critics, is that it would politicize the federal contracting process.

Bogardus reports in The Hill, there is support for the President's side of the issue.

"More than 30 public interest groups have written to Obama asking him to sign the draft order because they believe it would help shed some light on outside political groups that haven't disclosed their donors," he writes.

Going forward, said Bogardus, "I don't think we'll see Congress act until the President acts."