Under a headline reading, "White House may add politics to contract bids," Washington Technology Daily reports, "The Obama administration is determining how to require companies competing for government contracts to list their political contributions when submitting a contract bid." According to the report, the administration's draft executive order says, "To increase transparency and accountability to ensure an efficient and economical procurement process, every contracting department and agency shall require all entities submitting offers for federal contracts to disclose certain political contributions and expenditures that they have made within the two years prior to the submission of their offer." (The Washington Post’s report on this story is here.)
Far from promoting "transparency," however, the order's effect—and its aim—would seem to be to promote further political cronyism. Would contributions to Republicans—or, say, to groups opposing Obamacare—help a company get a contract awarded to it by this administration? Conversely, how about contributions to the administration’s favorite social causes?
Letting contracts be rewarded on the basis of government reviewers' opinions of companies' political activities doesn't sound much like what most Americans presumably think of when they hear talk of ensuring that the government be open and transparent. To the contrary, this sounds like another step in making this the most transparently political administration in history.