DC Court Upholds Pay-to-Play Ban

Some great news came out of the courts Tuesday, as the DC Court of Appeals upheld a law barring federal contractors from making contributions in federal elections. The ban, which has been in place since 1940, is designed to prevent a pay-to-play system by which companies can only receive contracts by donating to elected officials.

Issue One supports these bans, and commends the Court of Appeals for making this ruling. Allowing contractors to make contributions encourages corruption. As Chief Judge Merrick Garland wrote in the opinion for the unanimous court, “the concerns that spurred the original bar remain as important today as when the statute was enacted.”

It is crucial to build upon this victory. President Obama can, and should, sign an executive order requiring all federal contractors to disclose campaign contributions. 130 members of Congress, a coalition of reform groups, and the New York Times editorial board have all called for such an order, and it’s time the President ensures a stronger corporate disclosure system to fight the flood of dark money into elections.

Kudos to the DC Court of Appeals. Pay-to-play bans are critical to perpetuating a democracy in which having more money does not inherently grant an individual, corporation, or party more influence.