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130 Lawmakers Call for Executive Order Requiring Federal Contractors to Disclose Political Spending

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON – 130 lawmakers today became the latest voices in a growing chorus calling for an Executive Order from President Obama requiring federal contractors to disclose their political spending. Two letters—one signed by 26 Senators and another by 104 Representatives—follow an April letter signed by 50 major organizations and more than half a million petitions delivered to the White House urging the president to shine a light on dark money spending.

“The Supreme Court got it dead wrong when it allowed corporations to spend unlimited money on elections. But if they can spend freely, companies—especially those that get taxpayer dollars—shouldn’t be able to hide their political spending,” said U.S. PIRG Democracy Campaign Director Dan Smith. “President Obama called for a ‘better politics’ without secret campaign spending in his State of the Union address. It’s time now to back up those words with action. Americans have a right to know what interests are backing their elected leaders. With a stroke of a pen, President Obama can shine a light on political spending by federal contractors.”   

According to the House letter, led by U.S. Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA.), Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), Mike Capuano (D-MA.) and Donna Edwards (D-MD.):

 “Taxpayers have a right to know where their money is spent and you have the power to ensure that the American people can obtain this information. With public funds come public responsibilities, and any company receiving federal tax dollars should be required by executive order to fully disclose their political spending in a timely and accessible manner.”

According to the Senate letter, led by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse:

 “Political spending by government contractors is a problem you can address without congressional authorization. You would be on solid legal ground if you were to issue an executive order requiring disclosure of political spending by entities that have been awarded government contracts and their senior leadership… An executive order will not solve our campaign finance problems but it will at least be a step in the right direction, and will show your Administration’s commitment to transparency and fairness.”

Americans are ready for reform. A recent NY Times/CBS poll found that 85 percent of Americans think the system for funding campaigns needs ‘fundamental changes’ or that ‘we need to totally rebuild it.’ Meanwhile, a Wall Street Journal/NBC news poll released yesterday found that the role of big money in elections is a top concern voters have about the upcoming presidential election.

“There are many reforms needed to put everyday citizens back in the driver’s seat of our democracy, including amplifying the voices of small donors by matching small contributions with public funds. But requiring companies that get taxpayer dollars to be transparent about their political spending is a great place to start, and President Obama should waste no time in enacting this common sense reform,” concluded Smith.

Current House Signers (104): Eshoo, Capuano, Israel, Edwards, Grijalva, Ellison, Davis (Calif.), Van Hollen, Norton, Larson, Cárdenas, Polis, Pingree, Lofgren, Gutiérrez, Chu, Crowley, DelBene, Brady (Penn.), Lowenthal, Capps, Farr, Sherman, Hahn, Roybal-Allard, Takano, Clark, Loebsack, Tonko, Brownley, Matsui, Yarmuth, Kaptur, McCollum, Bonamici, Kelly (Ill.), Lee, McGovern, Honda, Lowey, Conyers, Esty, Sarbanes, Pocan, Nolan, Slaughter, Nadler, Watson Coleman, Fattah, Schiff, Welch, Deutch, Walz, Dingell, Gallego, Tsongas, Garamendi, Rice (N.Y.), Huffman, Moore, Boyle, Langevin, Green (Texas), Price (N.C.), Lewis, Lieu, Speier, Jackson Lee, Lawrence, Lujan Grisham, Cartwright, Blumenauer, Kilmer, Cicilline, Frankel, Napolitano, Quigley, Moulton, Schakowsky, Luján, McNerney, Cummings, Richmond, Becerra, Swalwell, C. Maloney, Courtney, DeFazio, Murphy (Fla.), Rangel, DeSaulnier, Carson, Serrano, Grayson, DeLauro, Larsen, Pallone, Duckworth, Castor, Clarke, Heck (Wash.), Doyle, Jeffries, Hastings.

Current Senate Signers (26): Sheldon Whitehouse, Al Franken, Bernie Sanders, Tom Udall, Elizabeth Warren, Patrick Leahy, Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Patty Murray, Sherrod Brown, Kirsten Gillibrand, Chris Coons, Ed Markey, Tammy Baldwin, Gary Peters, Jack Reed, Robert Menendez, Bob Casey, Richard Blumenthal, Cory Booker, Ben Cardin, Michael Bennet, Jeff Merkley, Mazie Hirono, Dianne Feinstein, and Amy Klobuchar.

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