Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Draft Executive Order Requiring Disclosure of Political Contributions

A couple of months ago, we alerted you to a draft Executive Order (EO) that if enacted, would require all companies submitting proposals to disclose political contributions and expenditures that they and certain individuals withing the organization have made during the two years previously. This disclosure would have to be completed prior to proposal submission or it would be rejected.

Last month, we reported on a hearing by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on the draft EO. Essentially, the committee was lined up against the draft EO, maintaining that taxpayers must be protected from the kinds of corrupt spoils system that could develop if federal contract awards were tied to partisan political affiliations.

If interested, you can read these two previous postings here and here.

Recently, a group of Senators introduced a bill (S. 1100) entitled "Keeping Politics Out of Federal Contracting Act of 2011". The Bill is designed to prohibit inserting politics into the Federal acquisition process by prohibiting the submission of political contribution information as a condition of receiving a Federal contract.

Under this bill, the Government may not require a contractor or prospective contractor to submit political information related to the contractor or a subcontractor at any tier, or any partner, officer, director, or employee of the contractor or subcontractor as part of a solicitation, request for bid, request for proposal, or any other form of communication designed to solicit offers in connection with the award of a contract for procurement of property or services

Further, the same restrictions apply during the course of contract performance as part of the process associated with modifying a contract or exercising a contract option, or for that matter, at any time prior to contract completion and final contract closeout.

Additionally, the contracting officer may not use political information, whether obtained from a contractor or prospective contractor or from an independent public or nonpublic source, as a factor or consideration in the source selection process used to award a competitive or non-competitive contract at any value or in making any decision associated with the modification of a contract or the exercise of a contract option.

Finally, the bill prevents the Government from including political information in the contracting past performance database or any database designed to provide information to a contracting officer for purposes of supporting the responsibility determination by such offer.

No word yet on the Bill's chances for passage.

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