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Member Advisory: June 9, 2011

Thursday, June 09, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Matt Gruhn
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Membership Advisory

MRAA JOINS BUSINESS COALITION TO KEEP

POLITICS OUT OF FEDERAL CONTRACT AND GRANT PROCESS

MRAA is an active member of a coalition of 156 organizations spearheaded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that is urging Congress to pass the "Keep Politics Out of the Federal Contracting Act of 2011.” Several letters have already been sent to both the Senate and the House of Representatives where in the House Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma)has been successful in getting the bill attached to two important bills, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act and the massive $690 billion National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1540). The Cole Amendment would ensure that "None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to implement any rule, regulation, or executive order regarding the disclosure of political contributions that takes effect on or after the date of enactment of this Act.”

In addition, a group of Republican senators, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) announced they were supporting legislation in the Senate to block the Obama Executive Order. Senate Republicans have not said, though, if they would try to follow up on the amendment offered by Rep. Cole, which had the support of all Republicans but one and 26 Democrats.

The letters MRAA has singed remind Congress that the federal acquisition process has worked well free of political influence.

The Congressional actions are in response to a draft Presidential Executive Order under consideration that would force companies and non-profit organizations vying for federal contracts and grants to reveal employee donations and membership payments to advocacy groups and trade associations, like MRAA, that is engage in even a small amount of political speech.. Contributions to political candidates, parties, and PACs are already disclosed as part of the federal law governing federal elections. The draft order is meant to target organizations that are not political organizations but may engage in some political speech as part of their broader mission.

"The draft Executive Order strikes at the heart of representative government and freedom under the First Amendment. Much of the information on campaign contributions is already public and reported to the Federal Election Commission,” said Phil Keeter, MRAA President. "MRAA will continue to support efforts to block the contractor disclosure order and to stop efforts to politicize the federal procurement process,” he added.

Published by Larry Innis, Director of Government Affairs