CRS report highlights President’s authority over federal contractors


by Jacob Hutt, policy intern

A recent report by the Congressional Research Service sheds light on President Obama’s draft executive order that would require federal contractors to disclose their contributions made to corporate and third party entities.

Presidential Authority to Impose Requirements on Federal Contractors” explains the history of the executive authority related to federal procurement and analyzes whether the President would exceed his presidential authority if he issues this executive order.

The report notes that Obama could cite either statutory authority granted to him by the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act (FPASA) or rely on his inherent constitutional authority as President. In response, Congress could seek to amend FPASA — either widening or narrowing the President’s authority — or introduce new legislation, as Rep. Tom Cole has done, for example, to counteract President Obama’s requirement of federal contractors.

As we’ve written elsewhere, “Among the myriad dire consequences of the Citizens United decision, among the most worrisome is the tool lobbyists now have to threaten to use secret campaign spending against members who do not do their bidding. The draft Executive Order is an effort to address this problem.” And we support it.