Common Cause and several coalition partners delivered petitions signed by nearly 1 million Americans to the White House this week, asking President Obama to order federal contractors to disclose their political spending.
“Firms that do business with the government have an obvious stake in the outcome of our elections,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause’s senior vice president for strategy and programs. “But today, voters have no way of knowing whether those companies are financing the political careers of the officials who influence contracting decisions. That’s information we need when we make decisions at the polls.
“President Obama has talked the talk on campaign finance; it’s time for him to walk the walk and sign this order.”
The petition delivery comes amid increasing evidence that the influence of big money donors is a top concern of voters heading into the 2016 campaign season. A New York Times/CBS News survey in June found 85 percent of voters believe the way political campaigns are financed should be overhauled. And in Maine and Seattle this week, ballot initiatives creating or strengthening small-dollar donor based public financing systems won landslide victories. Reform advocates also won a major victory in Ohio, where voters overwhelmingly supported a measure that creates an independent commission to draw state legislative districts.
The petitions delivered today call on Obama to sign an executive order requiring companies that hold federal contracts valued at $100,000 or more to disclose their political spending. That would cover an estimated 70 companies in the Fortune 100, including Exxon Mobil, Bank of America, and Boeing.
Common Cause partnered with reform groups including Public Citizen and People For the American Way to gather the petition signatures.