President Obama is said to be considering an executive order requiring government contractors to disclose their political spending. He should sign it immediately.
He should go further and ban political spending by federal contractors that receive more than half their revenues from government.
Ever since the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United that corporations can contribute unlimited amounts to “independent” election efforts, big businesses have been funneling huge amounts of cash – often secretly – into American politics.
That’s bad enough. But when government contractors do the spending, American taxpayers foot the bill twice over.
Our tax dollars are spent on their lobbying and campaign contributions. And if their lobbying and contributing is successful, our tax dollars are spent on federal contracts we often don’t need.
A study by St. Louis University political scientist Christopher Witko reveals a direct relationship between what a corporation spends on campaign contributions and the amount it receives back in government contracts.
Reviewing campaign contributions and contracts from 1979 to 2006, Witko found that even after controlling for past contracts, companies that contributed more money to federal candidates subsequently got more and bigger contracts.
A case in point is America’s largest contractor – Lockheed Martin. More