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End Pay-to-Play Politics Through Transparency, Groups Tell U.S. Senate Committee

May 15, 2012

End Pay-to-Play Politics Through Transparency, Groups Tell U.S. Senate Committee

Groups Urge Senate to Reject Legislation That Would Cloak Campaign Money from Government Contractors

Note: The U.S. Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee is holding a meeting Wednesday at 10 a.m. in Room 342 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building to discuss, among other things, S. 1100, the Keeping Politics Out of Federal Contracting Act.

Washington, D.C.– The U.S. Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee should reject legislation that would prohibit disclosure of campaign contributions and spending by government contractors, Public Citizen and 13 other civic organizations said in letter sent today to the committee.

S. 1100, which was sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), would keep the campaign spending of government contractors in the shadows and runs afoul of the honesty of our elections and the integrity of the government contracting process, the letter said. “Disclosure is the solution, not the problem,” it said.

The organizations writing in opposition to S. 1100 include: Campaign Legal Center, Center for Media and Democracy, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Common Cause, Democracy 21, Demos, League of Women Voters, MapLight, New Progressive Alliance, Project on Government Oversight, Public Citizen, Sunlight Foundation, U.S. PIRG and Union of Concerned Scientists.

“If passed, this legislation would prevent disclosure of campaign contributions from businesses seeking government contracts, and create a very dangerous obstacle to reining in pay-to-play abuses in the contracting process,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen. “Public officials who award the contracts will know which businesses supported them, but the public will be kept in the dark.”

The letter noted: “One of the single most important means to rein in this type of pay-to-play abuse in government contracting is to create a system of full disclosure so that the public also knows which contractors supported which officeholders. This transparency in contractor campaign spending would provide the public with the means to discern when contracts are being awarded based on money rather than merit – and a powerful tool to check pay-to-play abuses in government contracting.”

The groups strongly urge the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee to defeat this measure and end pay-to-play politics through transparency.


Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.