According to U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, it has taken decades to create a federal contracting system based on "best prices, best value, best quality."
She warns that the effect of a proposed executive order to force all companies (unions are exempt) and their officers to list their political donations as a prerequisite for bidding for government contracts is to again have "politics play a role in determining who gets contracts." Companies may choose not to bid, which will reduce competition and raise government costs. And she notes that the order puts thousands of civil servants who oversee contracting in an impossible situation.
The White House hasn't bothered to respond to Collins' letter although Obama has had plenty of time for campaigning. In recent weeks, he's held fundraisers in Chicago, California (six events in two days), New York and now Texas. The campaign may break the $1 billion threshold, money that will go even further if the White House can simultaneously use its executive order to dry up Republican donations.
The GOP has stayed mum on what it will do if Obama chooses to inject that level of partisanship into Washington's debates. His Osama bin Laden victory notwithstanding, Americans remain unhappy with the president's performance on jobs, the economy and debt.
If the president wants to shut down the possibility of bipartisan accomplishment on those fronts, a raw, election-motivated attack on Republicans is one sure way to do it.
Hilton Head Island