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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

House Overseers May Subpoena OMB Chief

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Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Sam Graves, R-Mo., really want a high-ranking Obama administration official to testify about the draft executive order circulating around the administration that would require federal contractors to disclose to government procurement officials political contributions dating back two years prior to bidding on a new project.

In fact, the lawmakers are threatening to bust out their subpoena power if Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew or Deputy Director for Management Jeffrey Zients refuse to appear before a joint session Thursday of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which Issa chairs, and the small business panel, headed by Graves, Politico reports.

So far, that's exactly what the OMB folks have done. In a letter to the legislators, Lew wrote, "Unfortunately, because this hearing concerns a draft presidential executive order that is still moving through the standard review and feedback process, we will be unable to testify."

Issa and Graves fired back with a letter of their own, saying that if the OMB folks persisted, the legislators would be "required to consider the use of compulsory process."

The draft order, which an administration official has said is necessary because "taxpayers deserve to feel confident that federal contracting decisions are based on merit alone and are not influenced by political favoritism," has drawn criticism both from Republicans on Capitol Hill and industry groups. They argue that the order would actually inject politics into the acquisition process.

Update, 4:55 p.m.: House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Tuesday he does not support the administration's proposal, Hotline On Call reports.

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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