Order Would Require Disclosure

 
Order Would Require Important Disclosure

Friday, May 13, 2011 03:06 AM

 In his May 1 Forum column “Order is attempt to muzzle contractors,” Bradley A. Smith decried President Barack Obama’s proposed executive order requiring disclosure of political spending by government contractors. In fact, the executive order in no way muzzles contractors. It would simply require disclosure by contractors of contributions or expenditures to parties, party committees or to third-party entities that can be expected to use the contributions to support or oppose federal candidates.

Such entities in recent years have come to play an increasingly important role in political campaigns, spending millions of dollars on commercials, often under names such as We Are Ohio or American Crossroads, which provide the public with no information about who is really behind the message.

The 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United permitted corporations to make unlimited contributions to entities engaging in electioneering communications.

This has been of great concern to the League of Women Voters of Ohio because of the danger that this will further increase the role of money in our election process.

However, the silver lining in Citizens United is that the Supreme Court strongly endorsed disclosure. The proposed executive order is a first step toward providing such disclosure, and the League urges the president to adopt the order.

MEG FLACK

President

League of Women Voters of Ohio

Columbus