May 10, 2011
The Honorable Darrell Issa
Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Chairman Issa,
Last week, you joined many of your colleagues in a letter to President Obama urging the
administration to drop its plans to issue an executive order that would require some companies
bidding for federal contracts to disclose the money they contribute to influence elections.
You and your colleagues, according to the letter, are concerned that requiring disclosure of this
information would be a “a blatant attempt to intimidate, and potentially silence, certain speakers
who are engaged in their constitutionally protected right to free speech.”
What was not mentioned in this letter is that by opposing the executive order, you may be
protecting the secrecy of one of your largest campaign contributors. One of the contractors that
could be included under this new executive order is SAIC, your largest campaign contributor,
whose PAC and employees have given you $66,950 in campaign contributions over the years.
SAIC received $1.6 billion in government contracts in fiscal year 2009 alone.
In addition, the letter raises an interesting question about whether you believe money influences
policy decisions. If disclosing contributions could lead to retaliation in the procurement process,
do you believe that campaign contributions to members of Congress—or lack thereof—could lead
to undue influence or political payback?
If so, your argument would implicate you and every member of Congress in this pay-to-play
scheme. If not, this inconsistency only proves that this is just a political stunt aimed at protecting
your big campaign donors from transparency.
If you are indeed bothered by our pay-to-play political system, we would be happy to talk with
you about the Fair Elections Now Act, legislation that would begin to sever the ties between
members of Congress and special interest donors. Attached is a summary of this legislation
National Campaigns Director
Public Campaign Action Fund