Why require disclosure from contractors but not subsidy recipients? 

Congressional Democrats have written in support of President Obama's proposed executive order that would require all applicants for federal contracts to disclose their political activity. In the letter, the members write, “We believe that with public funds come public responsibilities, and anyone benefiting from taxpayer money has the responsibility to be fully transparent."

So, why limit these requirements to contractors?

In the last decade, the federal government has issued $5 trillion in grants. Almost all of these have been to government agencies, but why not require them to disclose political expenditures made by directors and officers of the agencies, just as is required of contractors? Private entites also pocket federal grants, too.

Then there's government financing, like the Energy Department's loan guarantees to private business building renewable energy facilities, and Export-Import Bank's guarantees and direct loans to Boeing and other exporters.

Or bailout recipients, like Chrysler, General Motors, AIG, and Goldman Sachs -- why don't they bear the same burden of disclosure as government contractors do?

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Timothy P. Carney

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