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Public Statements

Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Chairman, this is the, I believe, sixth time that I've come to the floor during this Congress to call for disclosure and full transparency throughout the Federal Government. So this is not my first time on the floor on this issue. I've risen on many bills, and I will continue to because I think it's really critical to help restore the confidence of the American people in their government and how it operates.

I maintain the view, and it's shared by the majority of the American people, that transparency in the use of our tax dollars is absolutely critical. I want to pay tribute to my colleague, Mr. Ellison, for offering this amendment, and together we support it and offer it to the full House.

I believe that with public dollars come public responsibilities. There are thousands of companies who do business with the Federal Government, and they receive billions of dollars--of public dollars--for their services and products. And I think that all of our constituents deserve to know whether and how they spend these dollars and whether they are used to influence our elections.

The amendment I'm offering with Congressman Ellison will provide this transparency by requiring that post-award contractors or subcontractors--which is very important, we don't want to interfere with the contracting process whatsoever, but once they have been awarded a contract--disclose all political contributions. This should be the norm of the day.

Disclosure is extraordinarily powerful because it puts the American people in the driver's seat. Constituents deserve to know who is involved in their elections and what their purpose might be. I think it's sad that just a few days ago the United States Senate killed the DISCLOSE Act. It was a sad day for the Congress. But I think the American people are taking note.

Anyone who supports the Citizens United decision, which I don't, legalizing corporate expenditures, should know that eight out of nine Supreme Court Justices endorsed prompt disclosure. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote:

Disclosure permits citizens and shareholders to react to the speech of corporate entities in a proper way.

Now, Republicans supported disclosure before they were against it, and I would hope that my Republican colleagues would come back into the fold. There's no reason to oppose transparency and disclosure unless someone really wants to hide anything. And I don't think any of us wants to hide behind the hiding. It just is not good government. The American people, the people that we are here to represent and have the privilege of representing, deserve more information and not less.

We can bring this about by adopting this policy. I urge my colleagues to support the amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.


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