• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Is Obama Circumventing Congress to Restrict Political Speech?

    Is President Barack Obama trying to perform an end-run around Congress in order to implement restrictions on political speech?

    It’s a question that 27 senators put to President Obama in a letter this week in which they urged him to reconsider a draft executive order (EO) that would require government contractors to disclose political contributions.

    In the letter, the senators cite to Hans von Spakovsky, Senior Legal Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, who raised concerns over the underlying purpose of the executive order:

    Given similarities between the draft EO and some provisions of the DISCLOSE Act, which was rejected by the Senate in its current form, we are also concerned that the EO may be an effort to circumvent Congress. At least one commentator, former Federal Election Commissioner Hans von Spakovsky, has already criticized the draft EO as an attempt by your Administration “to implement–by executive fiat–portions of the DISCLOSE Act.”

    Earlier this week, von Spakovsky explained in The Washington Examiner the effect — and intent — of the president’s EO.

    It would require any company bidding on a government contract to disclose all political contributions made in the two years before the bid by the company, its affiliates and subsidiaries, and any of its directors or officers …

    It would require government contractors to disclose any contributions they make to third-party organizations “with the intention or reasonable expectation” that the funds will be used to make “independent expenditures or electioneering communications.”

    In other words, bidders will have to disclose all of their charitable and noncharitable donations to third parties if those outside organizations engage in any grassroots lobbying or political speech. This is obviously intended to curtail (and censor) political speech by government contractors.

    The order wouldn’t apply to federal employee unions or many nonprofits that receive federal grants and, as von Spakovsky writes:

    What is really going on here is a transparent attempt to introduce political gamesmanship into the government contracting business by the Obama administration. It is a cynical attempt to use the guise of reform to achieve political goals at the cost of the liberty that all Americans have to participate in the political process, and to voice their political opinions, without fear of retribution to themselves and their businesses.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    22 Responses to Is Obama Circumventing Congress to Restrict Political Speech?

    1. Pingback: Is Obama Circumventing Congress to Restrict Political Speech?

    2. Bobbie says:

      America is in dangerous hands! Led by coercion, cover-up, crooks and corruption. Transparency is Obama's middle name, don't give in!!!! Sick of the government favoritism of themselves! THEY WORK FOR THE PEOPLE!!!!!

    3. Tom, Greeley, CO says:

      Political contributions by individuals and groups are already highly regulated by State and Federal law. The idea of yet another disclosure law is counterproductive. Congress needs to fight this.

    4. Surette, Fallon, NV says:

      Wake up Americans. Obama is trying to turn this in a dictatorship covered in an Ice cream frosting.

    5. Harry, Dodge City, K says:

      Our forefathers created the States that obtained the staus of sovereign countries at the end of the Revolutionary War. Because no single State was strong enough to defend itself against foreign powers they decided to create a Union of sovereign States.

      To achieve the above, they decided to create a limited Federal government endowed with strictly enumerated powers[Pertaiins to all three branches---Executive, Congressional, and Judicial] to be their agent in the management of foreign relations, trade between the several States as well as provide their Defense from invasion.

      All other Powers and matters were left to the People themselves or the several sovereign States.

      There is no authority in the Constitution for the Federal government to regulate the lives of the People. Any such regulation is a matter for each sovereign State to determine based on the needs of its citizens and its Constitution.

      Nothing gives the Federal government the right to interfere with and control elections by forcing potential donors to divulge their donations.

    6. Goldwater Fanatic says:

      companies revealing who they make political donations to, they could face being discriminated against once someone like Obama finds out they are giving to an opposition political party. Plus, it should be no body else's business how a company spends its money.

    7. Protonius (NYC) says:

      Excuse me, but it strikes me that there is something puzzling as to what the objection to this EO is.

      One the one hand, I suppose that the words and content of this EO should preferably be legalized not by Presidential decree but instead via a Congressionally-approved, President-signed, law, which would then become a permanent (unless later overturned) part of the US Code.

      However, as I interpret the wording and content of this proposed EO, it seems to me that it's meaning is only positive, and that such a regulation, even if passed by Congress and Presidential signature into law, could be a significant bulwark against corruption in the political process. So how is that a "bad" thing?

    8. Eric N., CA says:

      Let's see to it that he doesn't get re-elected and make dang sure that the legality of every effort to that effect is above all reproach. Just because he is a crook doesn't mean we have to stoop to his level to get it done.

    9. Cherry, Michigan says:

      It is not just counterproductive. It is deliberate control by intimidation. Since it is an

      executive order, I doubt Congress has any control of it whatsoever. Obama shows

      no intention of honoring Supreme Court rulings. This is a direct, in your face effort

      to manipulate the 2012 elections. Unless the media calls him out on it big time…

      and we know they won't…he'll get away with it. This is how dictatorships come

      about, is it not?

    10. Tony in MO says:

      Isn't it strange that the Obama administration is exempting unions from disclosure of their donations? How convenient that the biggest supporters of Obama, the Unions, somehow avoid having to publicize how many millions of dollars they are adding to Obama's personal portfolio.

    11. George W. Starch III says:

      Please don't mis-understand. I don't mean to foment revolution, BUT when are our DECENT reps (I think we may have some) in DC going to veto all of this current socialistic legislation? Were my Mom and Dad alive today, these good Republicans wouldn't recognize today's Washinton.

    12. 0-Tolerance says:

      Obama may be trying to control the congress and the senate through threats or what ever means of bulling he can come up with but it will not work. Because of his own high level of arrogance and thinking he's beyond reproach Obama's finely nailed his own coffin shut and we can now bury his political career for ever.

      Finely I've found myself as we all should be thankful for this one thing about Obama. By Obama's actions he may have given us all true hope for the change he promised. Yes it's true that I've said the word thankful here.

      Mr Obama after all of the bickering about his birth records has indeed shown to the country and the world his long form birth form. ( Or has he? )

      We can choose to except this document as the real deal thus having the needed ammo to evict Mr Obama from the White House. (That sounds like a good deal!)

      Within this document it clearly shows that Obama at best can only be a citizen under the rights passed on from his mother in accordance to the provisions set within the Constitution.

      Obama's father on the other hand being a British Subject from Africa and can not convey any American birthrights to his child seeing that he did not hold US citizenship himself.

      This scenario in the life of Mr Obama leaves him totally out in left field from ever being able obtaining the status of Natural Born Citizen as required within our Constitution of The United States as to being a President of our country. ("Obama is Totally Ineligible to be the President of the United States") "We can demand action from the congress to immediately removing Obama."

      On the other hand we can check into this document to seeing as to it's true authentic value here to wit. We haven't really needed to use much scrutiny here as it appears so far to be a poorly done and easily disputed as a fake.

      Being a phoney document and being released by the President himself along with the help of his staff makes Obama and company guilty of a committed Fraud and other High Crimes to our country and it's citizens. "No Fraudulent action of this magnitude could ever be pulled off without the full cooperation of many high level government official's within the Democratic Party."

      What seems to be now is that Obama has assisted us in exposing an inner terrorist group well imbedded within our government with the sole agenda of destroying our country through it's inter structure and it's economy.

      If indeed this Terrorist group within our government has been exposed as I believe they have been they should all be placed in immediate custody charged as spies and the security of our nation at this point should be considered as having been breached at it's highest level's and the boarders locked down tight until we can feel the threat has passed and order restored.

    13. Ed Gallagher says:

      Why would anyone be surprised that Obama would do this. He has already circumvented Congress on a number of other issues through the use of regulations and EO's. This presidency is 1st and foremost about laying the groundwork and building the infrastructure of an omnipotent government that will solve all social ills through government control of our daily lives and programs to reeducate us into proper socialists and members of a victim class. Restriction of free speech through financial intimidation is not new, but never before so blatant. The last thing the zero growth nuts in the Obama administration want is an independent thinking business community that is not willing to commit corportate suicide by embracing Obamaism.

    14. Bob, Plattsburg, Mo. says:

      If congress lets this happen we don't need them. They should all resign and go home.

    15. SAM37, North Carolin says:

      This is no less incredulous than the other actions of this President and his Czars and cronies! He flaunts the law and ignores our Constitution that he swore to uphold. His promise of transparency is laughable, at best. He continues to demonstrate that he has but one goal; and, that is to destroy our economy and our sovereignty. It's time our Representatives in Washington stood up to him and said enough is enough. Impeach him and remove all his czars.

    16. JPhillips says:

      President Obama doesn't understand that by any devious means to circumvent the US Constitution is un-American and illegal. It is obvious this attempt is contrary to his oath of office which appears to mean little to him if it can be disguised..

      It is a shame, the scholar he (Obama) proclaims to be, finds the U S Constitution and it's amendments a burden. Either this, or he simply doesn't care while he promotes a very strange agenda with a good deal of foreign money behind him and a sleeping idiot beside him.

      Speculation, when he becomes our enemies' friend is he really our friend and patriot?

    17. Floyd Hylton, Green says:

      When will the Republicans wake up and show a little "guts" in dealing with this dictator. How much has he got to do to futher his agenda (gay rights, abortion, stem cell research, Libya, unions….just to name a few) before they will do something. It is unbelievable how much Obama has done to circumvent the power and responsibility of Congress and "they" just sit thier and do nothing. A sad state of affairs to say the least!

    18. Larry Donn, Arkansas says:

      I will not obey any orders from the government that violate the constitution. We, the people are under no obligation at all to obey illegal orders from the government. Instead, we should file charges against them for violating the constitution, which every government employee is legally obliged to protect. We should start with this illegal and crooked president. The man needs to be shown that we're not going to put up with his nonsense any longer. Every government employee takes an oath to uphold the constitution, and if they don't, they have violated that oath, and have broken the law. If we let them get away with it once, they'll do it again. If we arrest, try and convict some of them, and throw them in jail, the rest will get the message.

    19. Kris Missouri says:

      No only is this an attack on the first amendment, this will make sure that only those who contribute to the democrat party will get any govt. contracts. This is Nobama the dictator further closing the net and being well on his way to a complete takeover of this country. One day when we wake up, we will all be slaves in the kingdom of Nobama!

    20. Publius2008, USA says:

      Another needed Constitutional Amendment:

      Neither the President nor any function of the Executive Branch shall make any rule or act affecting the health, wealth, or life of the people unless such measure has been specifically approved by Congress.

      Our esteemed president seems to think that he can do anything by Executive Order (or is it royal decree?)

      If our citizens were stupid enough to elect this travesty, it proves we do not deserve a Democracy based on freedom.

    21. Pingback: Transparent mud « Arnegrim’s World

    22. Pingback: Outrage: Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic Bill to End tax Breaks for Moving U.S. Jobs Offshore! « InvestmentWatch

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×