Fox Now Running With Absurd Attack On Transparency Order

Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

Earlier today, we pointed out that Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy had provided Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) with a forum to accuse the Obama administration of creating a "Nixonian type enemies list" based on their draft executive order to require federal contractors to be more transparent with their political donations. Now Fox's "news" shows are running with the smear.

In a segment on America Live, Alisyn Camerota and Mike Emanuel pushed claims that under the proposal, "if you've given to Republican candidates, well maybe you won't get a federal contract."

Later in the hour, NDN's Simon Rosenberg pointed out that this claim is ridiculous, since much of the information the draft order deals with is already disclosed, with the order extending the disclosure to new, currently undisclosed political contribution streams:

CAMEROTA: Even if it isn't intended to be a blacklist, couldn't it somehow be abused where if you find, "Oh, interesting, this contractor has given to Republican candidates, perhaps I'm not interested"?

ROSENBERG: All of that information is already publicly available. If these companies have political action committees, then the money that they already give out to federal officeholders has been publicly available for generations.

Indeed, information on companies' political action committee donations and contributions from their officers is already publicly available online. If the Obama administration wanted to find out who those companies were giving to and use that information to inform their contracting decisions, they could do so currently through publicly available information. Note that neither Issa nor Fox has uncovered any instances of this actually occurring.

Indeed, one company, KBR, held more than $4.5 billion in federal contracts last year, seventh in the country, while giving 93 percent of its PAC's donations to Republicans. And Congressional Quartely Weekly reported in February that KBR is continuing to get government contracts during the Obama administration: "[T]he Army told reporters last year that the company, now called KBR, would have no competition and would get another extension worth $568 million to support U.S. forces in Iraq through the end of this year" (retrieved via Nexis).

As to former Bush White House aide Brad Blakeman's complaint that the information shouldn't be disclosed as part of the bidding process, the draft order makes clear that the information is being collected from bidders and distributed on the Internet precisely so that taxpayers can see it and have information on the degree to which contracting decisions are being influenced by corporate money.

As Rosenberg points out, it's curious that conservatives don't want this information out there if they don't have something to hide.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.