A Push Towards an Executive Order: President Obama Could Take the First Step Towards Stopping Secret Corporate Election Spending
Barely one-fourth of the largest government contractors disclose their contributions to outside electioneering groups. Dark money spending is particularly insidious when government contractors do it, because they are helping the campaigns of those who stand to help them win more contracts. This has led to a corrupt pay-to-play environment where government contractors can secretly funnel untold sums to help elect the very same lawmakers who are responsible for awarding government contracts.
In 2014, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ? which represents the largest multinational corporations in America, including many federal contractors ? spent more than $35 million on election ads funded by anonymous parties. But this is only one piece of the puzzle.
A March analysis conducted by Public Citizen found that just 27 percent of the 15 largest publicly traded federal contractors fully disclose the details of contributions they make to nonprofit groups and trade associations that could be used for electioneering expenditures. These contractors collectively held $129.1 billion in federal contracts in fiscal year 2013.
The executive order aims to shine a light on the dark money in our elections. If Obama acts, many major corporations will no longer be able to hide their future election spending from the public, a step towards renewing political integrity.
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Danish Majid contributed to this post.