Sunrise (4/22/11)

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DRAFT EO ON CITIZENS UNITED WOULD COVER THOUSANDS OF COMPANY CONTRIBUTIONS

Sunlight: “During the 2010 midterm election David and Charles Koch, owners of the massive energy conglomerate Koch Industries, became the face of secret donors to a new set of political groups spawned by the controversial Citizens United Supreme Court ruling. Koch Industries is also a longtime government contractor receiving $85 million in contracts over the past eleven years. These two facts may not seem to overlap, but if President Obama signs a draft executive order leaked this week Koch Industries and a large number of the nation’s companies would face the prospect of having to disclose their now-secret contributions to political efforts when they seek new federal contracts. … By applying to all organizations submitting a bid for contract the order would cover a huge swath of the country’s companies. JPMorgan Chase, Exxon Mobil, General Electric, and the aforementioned Koch Industries all hold government contracts. Thirty-three of the forty-one companies listed in the top 100 campaign contributors over the past two decades are recipients of federal contracts. According to USASpending.gov, there are 129,083 recipients of federal contracts, although many of these may be duplicates. … Even News Corporation, the owner of Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post, is a government contractor. The executive order would require both the company and its owner Rupert Murdoch to disclose contributions to political groups. Last year News Corporation contributed $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, which already discloses its donors, and, according to a New York Times investigation, another $1 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which does not disclose its donors.”

ENSIGN RESIGNS SENATE SEAT AMID ETHICS PROBE

TPM: “Embattled Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) is resigning from his seat in the U.S. Senate. In a statement released by his office Thursday evening, Ensign said his last day as a Senator will be May 3. … He noted that both Justice Department and Federal Elections Commission investigators have dropped their probes, though the Senate Ethics Committee had continued digging. Ethics Committee rules mean Ensign’s resignation will bring an end to that investigation as well. … Ensign took a swipe at the Senate committee in his statement. … “As is its right, the Senate Ethics Committee is continuing its investigation of issues into which it has been inquiring for the past year and a half,” he said. “Indeed, the Committee even decided recently to devote more resources to its investigation by hiring an outside counsel even though the issues have been viewed and reviewed by so many others.”

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