Senator denounces Obama budget text on disclosure of contractor gifts

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, says she has exposed language in the Obama administration’s fiscal 2013 budget that would keep open the possibility of controversial new requirements on federal contractors to disclose their campaign contributions.

After a draft executive order was leaked in April 2011 indicating the administration was preparing such a requirement, Congress enacted language in the 2012 Defense authorization bill forbidding such manditory disclosure for contractors. Broader language covering all agencies was then included in December’s fiscal 2012 omnibus spending bill.

“The White House, contrary to the intent of Congress, is apparently still trying to advance a policy that would inject politics into the federal contracting process instead of focusing on promoting competition and best value in contracting,” Collins said Monday.

“What possible good can come from linking political information to a process which must be grounded solidly and unequivocally on providing the very best value to American taxpayers?” she asked. “It is unfathomable why this administration would consider a move that would, at worst, corrupt the process, and at best, create a perception that political beliefs of private citizens are to be considered in selecting the winners and losers among businesses vying for federal contracts.”

Her complaint was backed by the Stan Soloway, president and chief executive officer of the Professional Services Council, a contractor’s trade group, who said, “neither political contributions nor any other political litmus test questions has a place in the federal marketplace.” He complimented Collins “and others for staying on top of this risk to the integrity of the federal contracting process and we appreciate her efforts to ensure agency procurement decisions should be based on merit and nothing but merit.”

The council would like the specific ban on requiring Pentagon contractors to disclose campaign gifts broadened to prevent civilian agencies from asking for that information after the award of a contract.

The intent of the administration’s budget language -- specifically, the use of brackets in its discussion of general provisions -- was not especially clear. A recent news analysis by the National Association of Government Contractors said the fate of the draft order requiring contractor gift disclosure has been put on hold.

The Office of Management and Budget issued a statement saying, “as a matter of course consistent with prior practice, the administration addresses in its budget proposal if it would keep, delete or modify every general provision in Titles 6 and 7 of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act for 2012. It would be inaccurate to draw any conclusions about future actions based on this practice."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.