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House Hearing Set for Soundoff on Contractors’ Political Contributions

Photo: aoc.gov

With news this week that a top administration procurement official will answer questions about a draft executive order requiring government contractors to disclose political donations, the rhetoric surrounding the move has ratcheted up.

Chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Small Business Committee, led by Rep. Sam Graves (R- Mo.), will hold hearings today about the draft, including an appearance by Office of Federal Procurement Policy Administrator Dan Gordon.

The hearing “Politicizing Procurement: Would President Obama’s Proposal Curb Free Speech and Hurt Small Business?” will also hear testimony from a a number of legal professionals and representatives of industry, such as Alan Chvotkin, executive vice president and counsel of the Professional Services Council, which represents scores of government contractors.

“The truth is that political contributions currently are not, and should not, be disclosed as part of the bidding and source selection process for federal contract awards,” Chvotkin will say, according to his prepared remarks. Chvotkin adds there is no evidence that campaign contributions have an impact on agency procurement decisions. “Yet the draft executive order takes the ill-conceived approach of injecting the very information into the contracting process.”

The administration has maintained that the order would increase openness and transparency. Open-government groups, such as OMBWatch contend that disclosing political contributions would put an end to corporate influence-peddling.

For a complete list of witnesses and more information about the hearings, click here.

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