The PJ Tatler

Obama weighing using 'transparency' as a means to punish his enemies

Barack H. Obama ought to change that middle initial to C for Chutzpah. This president promised transparency and accountability, then delivered czars and secrecy. His own 2008 campaign went out of its way to disable the safeguards on its credit card donation system, allowing foreign donations into its coffers in spite of the fact that that is illegal. Now, he’s mulling using an executive order to abrogate a Supreme Court ruling.

The provision is similar to one in a bill that Democrats pushed before the midterm elections called the Disclose Act. That legislation was part of a broader effort by Democrats and the White House to limit the influence of interest groups, which played an expanded role in last year’s midterm elections.

DISCLOSE died in Congress. It’s not the law of the land, nor should it be. So the president is considering just implementing it anyway by royal fiat. The effect of the order is straightforward: Give government contracting officers information about how a company and members of that company donate politically. These are companies that are competing for government contracts. The contracting officers will use that information — that’s the point of getting it, after all — in determining which companies will get the government contracts and which ones won’t.

What this is, is a license to reward companies the contracting officers and the administration that happens to be in power agree with, and punish others. It will be used to punish non-union companies and reward union companies, as the NLRB is already apparently doing. If this happens, it will be used and abused, long after the current administration has departed Washington. That, also, is the point of doing it.