Contractors use those loopholes as justification to hide basic public information from taxpayers including the fees they charge the public, how they spend public funds, and the details on the quality of public services they are paid to provide.
As a key first step to shining a light on dark money -- election-related funds whose source remains secret -- the president should issue an executive order requiring government contractors to disclose their election-related spending.
Pay-to-play restrictions constitute desperately-needed government contracting reform -- designed to preserve the integrity of the government contracting process and save taxpayer dollars -- not campaign finance reform. Even the Roberts Court may well see this.
Unfortunately, despite lofty initial campaign promises by the Obama administration, widespread government secrecy has only worsened in recent years and access to information by journalists and activists is disturbingly limited.
Everyone knows about the military-industrial complex, which, in his farewell address, President Eisenhower warned had the potential to "endanger our liberties or democratic process" but have you heard of the "Deep State?"
Much ink is spilt in end-of-year recaps this time of year, but the most compelling national analysis so far came from Joan Walsh of Salon. She proclaimed 2013 as the year "Americans discovered the crisis of the working poor." But unfortunately Congress still hasn't discovered it.
As troops are replaced with private security contractors, it would be foolish for a new administration to continue to ignore the vivid warnings of what happens when the U.S. outsources its inherent governmental functions.
The same political ideology of outsourcing and privatization of military logistics functions that has made a household name of Halliburton nearly caused harm to American troops, thanks to a KBR subcontractor.
The failure to establish effective accountability over private security contractors (PSCs) hasn't just obscured important truths about how our nation secures its foreign policy -- it has allowed some reckless actors to repeatedly endanger this goal.
The president needs to ban Lockheed Martin and all other government contractors that get more than half their revenues from government from engaging in any political activities at all. Taxpayers shouldn't be paying for this lobbying.