Published On: Thu, Jan 21st, 2016

President Obama considering ‘dark money’ executive order

President Obama is reportedly considering an executive order that would require companies doing business with the federal government to disclose their political contributions, White House officials said on Tuesday. This move is applauded by those critical of the influence of corporate donations in elections – nicknamed “dark money.”

This “Dark Money” executive order would mandate government contractors publicly report their contributions to groups that spend money to influence campaigns. Advocates inside and outside the White House believe the executive order would prompt some companies to spend less, by exposing their donations to public scrutiny..

“While we will continue to examine additional steps we can take to reduce the corrosive influence of money in politics, only Congress can put an end to it,” White House spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine said, dodging questions on internal discussions.

 photo/ screenshot from 2014 State of the Union address

photo/ screenshot from 2014 State of the Union address

Hoffine noted that legislation to require companies to reveal their campaign giving, known as the Disclose Act, died in 2012 as Republican opposition quickly ended those efforts.

The Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in 2010 allowed companies and labor unions to give unlimited sums.

According to the NY Times, a report last spring by the Public Citizen Congress Watch estimated that the proposed directive would apply to 70 percent of Fortune 100 companies, noting that large ones including Exxon Mobil, Apple, General Motors and General Electric had federal contracts worth more than $100,000 over the previous year.

Businesses and groups opposed to the measure claim that it’s an imposition on free speech.

“The real goal of the disclosure proponents is to harass, intimidate and silence those with whom they disagree,” said Blair Latoff Holmes, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We continue to believe that one’s political activities should play no role in whether or not you get or keep a federal contract, and we encourage the administration to leave this bad idea right where it is.”

In his State of the Union address last week, the president made a lengthy plea to “fix our politics,” specifically calling for reducing the role of money in campaigns and denying “hidden interests” the ability to bankroll elections.


“We’ll do audacious executive action throughout the course of the year — I’m confident about that,” Denis R. McDonough, his chief of staff, told reporters the morning after Mr. Obama’s speech. He added that the president had informed his staff that the central question he would be asking himself about potential actions was, “Why not?”

“We’re going to lean pretty hard into it,” McDonough said.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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