Sunday, December 11, 2016
1012 C Street  •  Floresville, TX 78114  •  Phone: 830-216-4519  •  Fax: 830-393-3219  • 

WCN Site Search

Preview the Paper Preview the Paper

Preview this week's Paper
A limited number of pages are displayed in this preview.
Preview this Week’s Issue ›
Subscribe Today ›

Lost & Found

Videomissing dog, male blue nose pitt-bull contact 830-216-1359 if you have seen him
*Includes FREE photo online!

VideoMissing Tux Gray & White Male cat was wearing a green collar with polka dots missing for a yr. Any information call 512-629-2005. REWARD OFFERED!!!
More Lost & Found ads ›

Help Wanted

Dean & Peeler Meatworks Custom Butchery in Poth, Texas will be opening in early 2017 and is searching for a head butcher and qualified meat cutters. This will be a cattle only federally inspected facility focusing on full high quality fabrication for customers and private labels. Those individuals interested contact us at 806-789-6359 or email
Pro shop help needed at River Bend in Floresville, part-time, good pay! Call Louie to set up an interview, 210-725-5405.
More Help Wanted ads ›

Featured Videos

Video Vault ›


Transparency Measure Is Ripe For Abuse

E-Mail this Story to a Friend
Print this Story

The author of this entry is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or
July 13, 2011 | 1,720 views | 1 comment

By Thomas A. Schatz

The lowest qualified bid by the most competent contestant traditionally wins the government contract. Unfortunately, the "Change" gang now wants to fiddle with this decades-old, generally reliable formula.

President Obama hopes to throw another item onto the scale as bureaucrats weigh bids: political donations. He could sign an executive order any day now that would instruct federal officials to consider the political contributions of prospective government contractors. While this move is being portrayed as a matter of increased transparency, it will actually fuel unintended consequences and indirectly overturn an important Supreme Court decision on free speech.

Forcing companies to disclose political gifts supposedly will expose covert "pay-to-play" schemes and ensure that private industry does not unduly influence Washington's decisions when awarding lucrative contracts. Rather than depoliticize procurement, this practice would empower public officials to scrutinize a particular company's political philanthropy. The Obama administration's supporters could score government deals while opponents leave with empty pockets and a simple message: "If you want our checks, show us yours."

The executive order could transport such old-fashioned, Chicago-style wheeling and dealing from Lake Michigan to the Potomac.

This executive order - drafted in April - requires contractors to disclose annual donations of more than $5,000 that were made in the past two years and paid to political candidates, parties or independent political groups. Directors, officers and other top managers would have to declare their personal political contributions from the past two years - even if they were made without their employers' knowledge or consent.

This order is in part designed to thwart last year's Citizen's United Supreme Court decision, which lifted certain restrictions on the donations corporations and labor unions can make to campaigns and independent organizations.
Congressional Democrats quickly tried to counteract that ruling by re-limiting the third-party donations. But a House- approved bill sputtered in the Senate.

Since the legislation will not be passed, Obama is trying to accomplish that same goal through the executive order. A clothing company would have to reveal its donations to a conservative advocacy nonprofit before bidding to manufacture military uniforms. A landscaping firm would have to list its checks to a liberal third- party group before applying to maintain a national park.

Clearly, such rules could foster political discrimination. Obama would enable his administration to deliver literally billions of dollars in government contracts to pro-Democrat businesses while denying billions to pro-Republican firms.

And when the GOP takes the White House again, that administration could turn around and practice the exact same kind of discrimination against Democrat-friendly contractors.

And the favoritism would not necessarily be confined to contracting work. The entire federal government would be made aware of private firms' political affiliations. Other agencies could use that information to determine where and how to award billions of dollars.

Even the appearance of political favoritism would be a problem.

The Agriculture Department, for example, might hire a company to upgrade 30 regional offices. That firm may have backed Obama's campaign and other Democratic causes. It also could finish its work on time, under budget, and with elegant results. Nonetheless, a losing, pro-Republican bidder might cry foul - even though it lost to a truly superior bidder, picked by honest public servants with no partisan axes to grind.

When awarding contracts, federal decision-makers should consider only one issue: the bidders' merits. Officials should evaluate the price and quality of the products and services on offer, the supplier's performance under previous contracts and how closely each bid follows federal contract rules.

This proposal is generating bipartisan opposition. Connecticut's independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, who caucuses with Democrats, and Missouri's Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, who chairs the Government Contracting Subcommittee, have both publicly opposed the executive order. Twenty-seven Republicans senators signed a letter urging the president to scrap this plan.

Imposing campaign- disclosure requirements on government contractors sets the table for a feast of patronage based not on the content of each contractor's character, but on the color of his PAC money.

Thomas A. Schatz is president of Citizens Against Government Waste.
‹ Previous Blog Entry

Your Opinions and Comments

Elaine K.  
July 13, 2011 1:01pm
New column posted.

Share your comment or opinion on this story!

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Not a subscriber?
Subscriber, but no password?
Forgot password?

Commentaries Archives

Commentaries page
Commentaries who represents me?
Heavenly Touch homeTriple R DC ExpertsFriesenhahn Custom WeldingAllstate & McBride RealtyVoncille Bielefeld home

  Copyright © 2007-2016 Wilson County News. All rights reserved. Web development by Drewa Designs.