New York Times Editorial: The Voters’ Need to Know

August 5, 2011
In The News

The New York Times editorial page recently wrote about Rep. Eshoo's efforts on campaign finance reform and improving disclosure of political expenditures post-Citizens United:

Just before President Obama hit the trail for a birthday binge of campaign fund-raising, 62 House Democrats sent him a pointed reminder that he has not yet signed the proposed executive order requiring federal contractors to disclose donations to the stealth campaign machines now undermining national politics.

Transparency is the voters' only hope for penetrating the casino of political fund-raising and quid pro quo corruption — as Mr. Obama repeatedly reminded the nation, before the political season got into high gear.

By law, government contractors must disclose spending through formal political-action groups. But not through nonprofit "advocacy" groups — an increasingly favored device for operatives of both parties. The proposed order would at least mandate disclosure of any contributions to these groups by all companies bidding for or holding a government contract.

"There is a whole new level, with a tsunami of money that's washing over the country," Representative Anna Eshoo of California warned the president in the letter signed by dozens of her Democratic colleagues. Republicans, expecting a bonanza from business donors, have been fiercely campaigning against the executive order.

The Supreme Court did democracy no favor at all when it opened the floodgates to unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions. It at least recommended a healthy dose of disclosure as the antidote, allowing tracking of who is "in the pocket" of any and all moneyed interests. Congress has resisted mandating such disclosure. Mr. Obama has said he is appalled. He can prove that — and make an important start — by requiring disclosure for government contractors.

To read the full editorial, please click here.