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Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Comes Out Against White House Campaign Finance Disclosure Plan

1:32 PM, May 10, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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Well, this is an interesting development:

A House Democratic leader opposes a White House proposal to require anyone seeking government business to disclose political contributions.

Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland says government contractors should be chosen on the merits of their applications, their bids and their capabilities. Hoyer is the House Democratic whip, the second-ranking party position.

Hoyer told reporters Tuesday, "It's not a requirement now I don't think it ought to be a requirement. So I'm not in agreement with the administration on that issue."

The White House's proposed executive order on this has been drafted, but hasn't been issued yet, so Hoyer's decision to speak out could be pretty significant. Last month, I explained in detail why Obama's campaign finance plan is really a sop to unions, who are both a natural Democratic constituency and make up 12 of the 20 biggest political contributors over the last two decades:

It's also hypocritical in the extreme that Obama would make such a big deal about alleged political corruption with regard to federal contractors while ignoring the role unions play in the awarding of federal contracts. As I noted in my cover story in the current WEEKLY STANDARD, one of Obama has previously signed an executive order stacking the deck on government contracts in favor of unions and Democrats also used the stimulus to line the pockets of unions with federal contracts.

Again, this was further fleshed out my recent story for the THE WEEKLY STANDARD on the death of unions:

One of Obama’s first official acts as president was a February 6, 2009, executive order that in effect mandates union labor on large federal contracts through “project labor agreements” (PLAs). According to a study by the Beacon Hill Institute, PLAs make construction projects cost an average of 12 percent to 18 percent more.

Just after the executive order on PLAs, the stimulus bill was passed, which contained $188 billion in federally overseen construction projects as well as a provision applying Davis-Bacon “prevailing wage” laws to stimulus projects. This further slanted the awarding of federal contracts to the 17 percent of the construction industry that is still unionized. Heritage Foundation labor expert James Sherk estimates that the Davis-Bacon requirement alone could inflate the cost of the stimulus by as much as $17 billion.

Note that a similar campaign finance plan put forward by Democrats last year, the DISCLOSE Act, didn't pass in part because the double standards over the way it treated unions versus corporations became an issue.

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