If Lobbyists Hate It

lobbyist

Secret Donations

It’s perfectly logical and reasonable to wonder what politicians who want to protect secret donations are hiding. You don’t want us to know something? Why? When it comes to public servants, especially our elected representatives, nothing financial should be “none of our business.”

That is – unless you’re a House Republican.

Yes, 21 Republican members of the House, complete with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, have signed a letter condemning a leaked draft order by President Obama forcing federal contractors to disclose their political donations.

It seems like a pretty easy win for the Obama Administration. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision which breached the levees of corporate (including foreign) donations to political campaigns – signing an executive order for more sunlight in elections should be welcomed. It’s very American. It’s very democratic. It’s very necessary.

We cannot hold our lawmakers accountable without transparency. And if we can’t hold them accountable – they’re not working for us. Actually we’ll never know who they work for.

Nonetheless, GOP lawmakers in the House made public (strangely) their desire to keep campaign donations from federal contractors secret.

lobbyistsRemember, Republicans don’t think public jobs are really jobs because they’re financed with taxpayer money. Ask public workers who raise families on those checks if they have real jobs – you’ll perhaps get a different story. But this re-branding of government employees as budgetary tapeworms has been the excuse for public workers to lose collective bargaining rights in states like Wisconsin and Ohio.

David Brooks inadvertently said it best when drawing the distinction between public and private unions: “Most important, public sector unions help choose those they negotiate with. Through gigantic campaign contributions and overall clout, they have enormous influence over who gets elected to bargain with them, especially in state and local races.” Now, replace “union” with “government contractors.”

Yes, I know Brooks didn’t mean contractors, nor did the Republican campaign against public workers mean contractors. The problem is their grievances for one apply to both.

They claim people who work for a living don’t have real jobs because they draw a paycheck from the government – but federal contractors who also draw their paychecks from the government should have full protection from any disclosure. This means Republicans want to give fewer rights to the people teaching our kids to read and more rights to the super-shady regularly-sued likes of Blackwater.

Don’t mercenaries already have enough immunity? After voting for the gift-wrap-to-the-rich Ryan Budget plan to dismantle Medicare and give millionaires even more tax cuts – is this really what the House Majority Leader wants to champion? Secrecy for corporate donors? Do they only represent “we the people” with an asterisk? As in: When you define corporations as people – then they’re fighting for “the people.”

President Obama should note the reality star anthem, “Let your haters be your congratulators!”

A bunch of lobbying groups – the American League of Lobbyists, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable have come out against this order. They’ve mentioned it would threaten their influence in Washington. It’s the best possible endorsement of any executive order.

tina dupuyI suggest calling it the “Lobbyists Hate This Order.”

It has a nice ring to it.

Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act (DISCLOSE) died in the Senate last year. That’s a failure of Congress in a long line of failures. An executive order can remedy that.

When it comes to government best to turn on the lights and watch the cockroaches scatter.

Tina Dupuy

Taking Eternal Vigilance Too Far

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