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U.S. Election: A Season for Political Spending

April 9, 2012

Most Americans know that when President Obama entered the power pole of presidency, he changed the law to allow unlimited spending for campaign contributions. One year ago, the Obama administration was contemplating an executive order that would require all corporations with a government contract to disclose political spending. The purpose was to make the federal contracting process more transparent. Since so many companies have a federal contract, the order was seen as an act of disclosure that required all corporations to reveal political spending over $10,000.

As is often true in politics, this initiative seems to be dead. The administration is unlikely to issue that order until after the 2012 elections at the earliest, and you know why. It’s been a grand pretense.

The larger question is what the White House is actually willing to do to create a better campaign finance system. If it’s not going to sign this executive order, the administration could try to force some nominees onto the Federal Elections Commission, as many good government groups have urged. Alternately, the White House could call for the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue rules requiring political spending disclosure, a move that one SEC commissioner has already voiced support for.

If Barack Obama is serious about campaign finance reform, he might take some of these executive actions. Alternately, he could just keep supporting bills he knows won’t pass, while raking in millions to his Super PAC for untold future promises.

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