How’s this for transparency in the White House?
Last week, the House joint Oversight and Small Business Committee held a hearing on a proposed Obama Executive Order mandating the disclosure of political donations by government contractors. The Committee questioned White House aide Daniel Gordon on the Order. His response? He danced, dodged, bobbed and weaved around the Committee’s questions, as captured in this video, above:
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC): Does it strike you at all as being ironic to invoke confidentiality and not answering questions when we’re having a hearing about transparency?”
Gordon: “It does not, sir. I think there are discussions, even about transparency and developing rules about transparency that we need to be able to have quietly and behind closed doors.”
This wasn’t the first time the White House has faced questions on the Order, which amounts to an attempt to make an end-run around Congress in order to implement restrictions on political speech. Twenty-seven senators sent a letter to the president questioning the Order in late April.
The Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky explained in The Washington Examiner the effect — and intent — of the president’s Order.
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.”
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.
So while the White House’s intentions are transparent, the decisions surrounding the Order are not. But don’t be surprised. On everything ranging from health care, net neutrality, the New START treaty and closed-door meetings with liberal organizations, the Obama Administration has thumbed its nose at transparency, despite the president’s commitment to make his administration the most open and transparent in history.