Former Elected Officials to Obama: Show Us the Money!

Today, 14 members of Issue One’s ReFormers Caucus released a letter to President Obama asking him to show us the money. That’s the gist of their letter to the White House urging the President to sign an executive order to require full disclosure of political spending by federal contractors. In doing so, he could shine a light on the contracting process and ensure that our tax dollars go to the best company for the job.

The ReFormers Caucus is the largest bipartisan group of elected officials speaking out for comprehensive campaign finance reform ever assembled. Currently, the ReFormers include former representatives, senators, governors, CIA directors and a vice president, as well as cabinet secretaries and ambassadors spanning the past five administrations.

“When businesses compete for our tax dollars and for federal contracts, the American people deserve to know where and how much money they’ve spent in elections,” said Congressman and former Ambassador Tim Roemer (D-IN), senior strategic adviser to Issue One who leads the ReFormers and is one of the letter’s signatories. “Winners for these precious tax dollars should be based on merit and competition, and not on how many dollars companies have doled out into the political system. This executive order would go a long way toward restoring trust in government.”

The public is strongly in favor of this kind of executive action: a poll from MaydayPAC found that 78 percent of Democrats and two-thirds of Republicans support the effort, including 77 percent of Trump supporters. This kind of bipartisan support just shows how universal the desire to ensure democracy works for everyone is among all Americans. An additional one million petition signatures will be delivered to the White House today, collected by an impressive coalition of good government groups,  just to emphasize the point. 

The push for more disclosure of secret money in elections comes as Congress doubles down on keeping Americans in the dark. The new omnibus federal spending bill prevents federal agencies from cracking down on shadowy nonprofits that manipulate the tax code to hide their donors, and bars the Securities and Exchange Commission from requiring publicly traded corporations disclose political spending to shareholders. Both proposals receive strong support from voters of both parties.

Issue One’s Executive Director Nick Penniman said the ReFormers’ letter demonstrates the “bipartisan nature of this cause.”

“Seventy-six percent of both Republicans and Democrats think the influence of money in politics is worse than it’s ever been, according to the Pew Research Center,” he said. “The ReFormers represent this overarching swath of America that just wants common-sense solutions, like this executive order, enacted to reorient democracy back toward Main Street.”

The letter was signed by 14 members of the ReFormers Caucus, representing seven Democrats and seven Republicans. Signatories include Gov. Jon Huntsman (R-UT), Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD), Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), Sec. Norm Mineta (D-CA) and Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY).

ReFormers Caucus Executive Order letter