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Friday, Apr 29, 2011, 8:12 am

Help Expose Secret Corporate Campaign Contributions

By Joel Bleifuss
Do you wonder who is investing money in Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc) campaigns? Do you want to know which politicians are receiving campaign funding from nefarious corporate "citizens" like Koch Industries, Exxon Mobil, General Electric, the Bank of America, Halliburton (Dick Cheney was once CEO), Xe Services (formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide), or News Corporation (parent of Fox News and other Rupert Murdoch organs) or the Carlyle Group (the ex-President George H.W. Bush worked as an advisor)?

We may soon find be able to find out ... if President Barack Obama signs an executive order that would require all corporations that do business with the federal government to disclose "third party" or "independent" campaign expenditures.

We got the following message from Brendan Fischer from PR Watch up in Madison:
During the 2010 elections, much of the unlimited election spending made possible by the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision was kept secret by groups taking advantage of the the tax code. The President's proposed order would lift the veil on secret spending in time for the 2012 elections, at least for those corporations receiving government contracts.

Tell President Obama you support this plan and ask him to sign this Executive Order. The Executive Order is a step toward limiting the secret corporate spending that tainted the 2010 elections by groups hiding behind their nonprofit status to keep funding sources secret. Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, for example, spent almost $17 million in 2010 attacking Democratic candidates without disclosing who was funding these attack ads. Over 46 percent of election spending in 2010 ($135.6 million) was entirely secret. Polls show that 92 percent of Americans want greater disclosure—add your voice to that number by contacting President Obama. Please call the White House at 202-456-1111 and tell President Obama to require disclosure of contributions to "third party" or "independent" expenditure groups by corporations receiving government contracts.

So, come on folks, pick up the phone now. Let Obama know where you stand.

Joel Bleifuss, a former director of the Peace Studies Program at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is the editor & publisher of In These Times, where he has worked since October 1986.

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