Today, Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act which would prohibit an executive branch agency from requiring federal contractors to disclose political contributions as a condition of participation. This amendment is a direct response to a draft Executive Order being considered by the Obama Administration which would link political contributions from companies with government contracts.

As proposed, the draft Executive Order brings politics to the forefront of the government contracting process, and creates the impression that any Administration could discriminate against businesses based on past political donations or engagement. The Cole Amendment would not allow an executive agency to require this kind of disclosure which would prevent companies from being unfairly discriminated against if they are bidding for a government contract. 

We are opposed to the current draft Executive Order and will continue to oppose any effort by the Administration to infringe on the rights of individuals which allows them to freely participate in the political process. 

The Cole Amendment was just debated on the House floor a short time ago and the vote could come this evening. We will post more information as it becomes available. 

Rosario Palmieri is vice president of infrastructure, legal and regulatory policy, National Association of Manufacturers.