Members of Both Parties Issue Strong Words to the President on Dark Money

Yesterday a bipartisan group of former lawmakers and government officials issued strong statements to President Obama urging him to follow through with an executive order that would require federal contractors to disclose their political spending.

Listen the the recording below.

Executive Order Telepress Call Recording

“We need to shine a bright light on the dark money in our federal contracting system,” said former Amb. Tim Roemer (D-IN). “Winners in this system need to be based simply on merit and competition, not on what a company can dole out as campaign contributions.”

“This executive order is about fairness for taxpayers,” said former Gov. Jon Huntsman (R-UT). “When businesses compete for our tax dollars, Americans have the right to know if they’ve spent money influencing our elections.”

Speakers on yesterday’s telepress conference included former Governor Jon Huntsman (R-UT), Sec. of Agriculture Dan Glickman (D-KS) and Ambassador Tim Roemer (D-IN); all members of Issue One’s ReFormers Caucus. Richard Painter, associate counsel and chief ethics lawyer to President George W. Bush and member of Issue One’s Advisory Board, also participated, adding,”Government spending has grown enormously over the past several decades, and quite a lot of that is driven by both lobbying and our campaign finance system.”

Drawing on their personal experiences at the highest levels of government the group made a strong case for increasing transparency in elections.

“This executive order accomplishes what Congress is not doing right now. It gives Americans the sunshine they need to understand where the money is going into politics,” Former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman, said. “It doesn’t necessarily stop it, we’re not trying to do that. We’re just trying to make sure it’s fully and totally disclosed.”

Yesterday’s call was part of an ongoing effort by Issue One’s ReFormers Caucus, a bipartisan group of more than 120 former members of Congress and governors dedicated to reducing the influence of money in politics. In December, seven Republican and seven Democratic ReFormers together sent a letter to the White House urging the President shine a light on dark money in politics.

All speakers on the call made the point that at its core, the executive order would begin to restore the trust that the American people have lost in their government and their democracy. With poll after poll showing that the American people are in strong agreement about increased disclosure of political spending, the executive order is a simple way to show the people that Washington can and will respond to their concerns.

If President Obama’s call for “better politics” is sincere, he must be willing to set an example and act. With bipartisan support behind the federal contractor executive order, there is no better time than now.