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Thune blasts Obama for proposal

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., blasted the Obama administration over a proposal to require any business holding or seeking a federal contract to disclose its political contributions.

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Sen. John Thune

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., blasted the Obama administration over a proposal to require any business holding or seeking a federal contract to disclose its political contributions.

The move, which would come in an executive order, is an attempt to counter the controversial 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling known as Citizens United. The ruling allows corporations to fund political messages without disclosing their involvement and is based on First Amendment free speech rights.

Thune has joined other Republican senators in sending a letter to President Obama objecting to the proposal.

"This is a very questionable approach," Thune said. "This order would not apply to labor unions."

Thune said legislation to accomplish the same objective, called the Disclose Act, has failed to pass in Congress.

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"This is an overtly political move to circumvent Congress. This inserts politics into the awarding of government contracts," Thune said. "This is an attempt to retaliate against people who have contributed to causes with which you don't agree."

Obama's press secretary, Jay Carney, said the goal of the executive order would be to achieve "transparency and accountability" when a draft of the proposed order was published in the Washington press last month.

The Obama administration is considering the move at the behest of Courage PAC, the organization formed by former Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., who was defeated in 2010.

"This is a basic matter of cleaning up corruption," reads Courage PAC's website. "Right now, a corporation doing business with the government can take taxpayer money -- your money -- and use it to elect legislators who will vote to give them more contracts; in total secret."

Related Topics: JOHN THUNE
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