The Chairs of the House Oversight and Government Reform and Small Business Committees have announced a joint hearing of their respective committees on a sweeping proposal by the Obama Administration requiring the disclosure of political contributions and expenditures by those bidding on government contracts. The Public Policy and Infrastructure Group has been monitoring this draft executive order since it was first proposed and noted that it would have a significant impact on the contract community. It would require the disclosure of (a) all contributions or expenditures to or on behalf of federal candidates, parties or party committees made by the bidding entity, its directors or officers, or any affiliates or subsidiaries within its control; and (b) any contributions made to third party entities with the intention or reasonable expectation that parties would use those contributions to make independent expenditure or electioneering communications.
The most recent development is the scheduling of the joint congressional hearing on the proposal, which will happen on 1:30 Thursday, May 12th in the Oversight and Governmental Reform Hearing Room, 2154 Rayburn House Office Building. The House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee is a powerful one with jurisdiction over any issue it wishes to examine. As we have previously noted, its Chairman, Darrell Issa (R-CA-49) has indicated his intent to move forward on an aggressive plan of oversight of the Obama Administration. Both Chairman Issa and Small Business Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO-6) have requested that White House Budget Director Jack Lew testify at this hearing, but he has declined. Both Chairmen have indicated their interest to subpoena the Budget Director, indicating the tension underlying this proposed Executive Order. A list of other witnesses has been made available and includes representatives of government contractors and trade associations as well as scholars.
This is expected to be part of an ongoing effort by Congress to block or otherwise limit the implementation of this proposed order.