Huffington Post - Congressional Democrats Seek Corporate Disclosure Post-Citizens United

July 12, 2011
In The News

Paul Blumenthal of the Huffington Post recently interviewed Rep. Eshoo about her leadership in fighting for disclosure of campaign activity.  Eshoo has been a leader in the House, and helped introduce the Shareholder Protection Act:

The lawmakers were joined by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), who had recently pressed the case for outside spending transparency. Last month, Eshoo and Capuano sent a letter co-signed by 22 members of Congress to President Obama voicing support for a leaked draft executive order that would require federal government contractors to disclose their contributions to groups spending money in elections.

Eshoo took that support to the floor of the House last Thursday, voicing opposition to an amendment to the Department of Defense appropriations bill proposed by Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) that would block the administration from enacting that executive order. Eshoo attempted to introduce her own amendment to the bill that would have required all contractors receiving money to disclose their contributions to groups spending in elections, but her amendment was ruled out of order by the Republican majority.

Speaking from the House floor, Eshoo said:

The draft of the President's order would require disclosure requirements for contractors who do business with the Federal Government. Now, any business that does business with the Federal Government is paid with taxpayer dollars. Why shouldn't there be transparency, accountability, and disclosure relative to those dollars? This amendment, your amendment, would prohibit disclosure, which I think is the exact wrong thing to do.

The Cole amendment ultimately passed on a near party line vote with 20 Democrats crossing over to vote in its favor. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the Democratic Whip, ultimately voted against the amendment after publicly stating his opposition to the executive order.

The Senate will now decide what happens to the Cole amendment. The majority of Democrats in the Senate support the president's executive order in favor of disclosure, making passage of the Cole amendment unlikely.

Eshoo told HuffPost that the Democrats are showing "broad support" for the executive order that has "manifested in many ways."

She cited the letters sent to the White House and the many Democrats who voted both against the Cole amendment and the House passage in the previous Congress of the DISCLOSE Act, which would have closed the disclosure loophole but was shelved by the Senate.

According to Eshoo, the clearest evidence of that broad support among Democrats for disclosure is that Republicans "won't even allow" her amendment on the House floor.

To read the full article, please click here.