Marco Rubio: Government Officials and Federal Contractors Are Completely Honest

Categories: Politics
Trust me! I'm with the government!
Marco Rubio usually says what he means. Which is why his fans -- and I count myself among them, even though I disagree with just about every one of his policies -- should be saddened by a small item at the bottom of his latest weekly newsletter titled "Marco Rubio Defends First Amendment Rights." It reads:

Earlier this week, Marco signed on to a letter to protect First Amendment rights of prospective federal contractors. A draft Executive Order from the Obama administration recently surfaced that would require federal agencies to collect information regarding campaign contributions and other political activity of potential contractors before those agencies award these companies with a contract. This puts politics squarely at the center of every federal contract offer, and will have a chilling effect on the First Amendment rights of individuals to contribute to the political causes or candidates of their choice.

The newsletter then encourages readers to visit Rubio's website, where the statement continues:

No potential contractors will feel free to exercise their First Amendment rights if they fear that this might negatively impact their chances of earning a contract. Where once these contracts were awarded based on merit, this Executive Order would eliminate impartiality and inject politics where it does not belong. Americans should never feel that their livelihoods are threatened by opinions that may run counter to those of the White House.
You can read the Executive Order to which Rubio refers here. (For whatever reason, Rubio doesn't link to it at all.) It's not a complicated document. All it demands is that contractors, their executives, and their officers refrain from making "certain contributions" while bidding on contracts -- presumably, contributions to those entities who will ultimately award the contracts -- and that those contractors/executives/officers reveal, when placing a bid, all the political contributions they've made in the preceding two years that total more than $5,000. Obama's order does not preclude even very generous donors from winning contracts, so no honorable businessman's bottom line ought to be affected.

Rubio argues that this doesn't matter -- that we shouldn't know and shouldn't want to know to whom our contractors have donated; that we should take it on faith that both contractors and politicians will behave honorably in their business dealings. He is saying, in effect, that the government that governs best is the one that is monitored least.

In making such a ludicrous claim so blatantly, Rubio is either banking on his constituents' inability to read critically or else displaying his own profound ignorance of the world he inhabits. In order for his argument to make sense, this would have to be a world in which federal contracts really are awarded "on merit"; a world in which you-scratch-my-back-and-I'll-scratch-yours politics plays no role in the awarding of federal contracts; a world in which politicians and federal contractors would never even think of giving or taking a bribe or wielding or succumbing to undue influence.

Nice as it sounds, that world isn't ours. And Marco Rubio knows it.

He must. For a recent, local, and famous example of why federal contractors might be worth keeping tabs on, Rubio need look no further than the weird spectacle of Harry Sargeant III. Sargeant hasn't been accused of bribing any government officials -- at least, he hasn't been accused of bribing American officials. But this billionaire oil man from Delray Beach has been found to have overcharged the American government (which is to say "the American taxpayer") by hundreds of millions of dollars on a series of federal contracts for shipping fuel to American airbases in western Iraq. How'd he get away with it? By using, ahem, "undue influence" on rich and powerful Jordanians to maintain a monopoly on the supply routes to the Iraqi border.

Which isn't to say that all federal contractors are skeezy or even that Harry Sargeant III is skeezy. It's to say that in the high-stakes world of federal contracting, competing bidders must necessarily use every advantage available to them, because if they don't, the next guy will. One of those advantages should not be a well-placed political donation.

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2 comments
Deborah
Deborah

I need someone to listen:I need someone to care, because I am scared of where this world is going. I am a 56-year-old woman. I have never been married. I have no children. I have always taken care of myself, and was employed steadily for over 30 years, and that was with only two companies. Since 9/11 I’ve had over 5 jobs and have only been able to find part time work with no benefits. I do not mind working 80 hours a week to support myself. I do not mind that I am making ¼ of what I was earning in the 80’s. I am proud that I had a successful career; I have achieved health by losing 165 lbs, and quit a 40-year 3 pack a day cigarette habit 6 years ago. I have an amazing circle of friends; some of them have been part of my life for over 50 years. I am clever, enduring and funny. I am healthier now than I have ever been in my life, and I cannot get health insurance. The only way I can get insurance is if I can get a full time job with a company that offers insurance, and I would do that if I could find a job, but I can’t. I can’t find a full time job, and the ones that I have had over the last 10 years have been so demeaning that they slowly suck the life out of me. But I stand strong, and I go on. I’ve applied for every kind of private insurance, and no one will insure me. Everyone gives me a different answer. But the fact is if your 56 and even take one prescription drug, or have ever had a serious illness, you cannot get coverage. I wouldn’t even mind if they wrote in pre-existing exclusions, but they won’t even do that. I can’t apply for government assisted insurance, because what was a one quarter million dollar IRA account is now around $76,000, and as long as I have that, I’m too “wealthy” for government assistance, because they could care less about our future, which is uncertain at best. So the government needs me to use up all my money before they will even consider me for insurance, and then they can still turn around and deny me health coverage. At 40 I was diagnosed, morbidly obese at 300 lbs., type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and I had thyroid disease. At 41 I had gastric bypass surgery, lost 165 lbs, have kept it off over 15 years. I no longer have diabetes or thyroid disease, my cholesterol and sugars are great. I get blood tested every 6 months to make sure everything is where it should be. I have never been healthier. I do have ADD for which I take Strattera in conjunction with Wellbutrin XL, and I take Benecar for high blood pressure, which is only due to the side effect of the Straterra. If, God forbid, I have a heart attack or get cancer due to the stress of not being able to find a job or securing insurance…that will more than wipe me out. Then there will be one less person looking for a job and thereby making our employment numbers look better? I am sorry, but it just doesn’t seem fair that a United States born American who has worked in this country all her life, and up till now has been proud to be an American, can’t get insurance. But there is no problem getting it for the thousands of aliens and immigrant’s food, insurance, loans. I have never asked anything of my country, other than to protect me, my freedom and my pursuit of happiness. Imagine my disappointment in my own country, and in my own government. Do I really need to leave my home, my country and move to a country with socialized medicine? Do I just live every day in fear? Honestly, in my mind, that is no life. I know too many people in my age bracket in my situation. The Thirty something year olds with all the high tech companies are not interested in hiring people in my age range (50-65). People are living longer, and therefore need to work longer, and yet there are no jobs for us. The only new jobs are all entry-level positions that we did 30 years ago; flipping burgers, bagging groceries. I can’t speak for everyone, but for me that just depletes my self esteem, that I would have to resort to that after all I have done.  I never for one moment ever thought I would be in this predicament. And I will do whatever it takes to get the word out until some one or some-government takes a stand and does something. I really don’t care about any other countries anymore. Feed our hungry. House our homeless. Insure our uninsured. Do something. Where is my America? If you can find it in your heart to pass this on to someone who may help, or if you can let me know what other avenue I can take to make a difference, I will. I will do whatever it takes; tell me who to contact and how to get them to listen. I believe this is an issue that keeps getting pushed under the rug, and it is of grave importance that it gets the attention it deserves, and that we, middle age, middle American’s with no options and little hope have. Most cordially, Deborah Fay Heller22385 Barwood Ln. So., #1409Boca Raton, FL 33428561-218-3590561-445-0712E-mail: fayzee1212@comcast.net

Ad Dendum
Ad Dendum

While you dismiss Rubio as being naive or worse, you are doing exactly that yourself. The only difference is that you trust politicians to do the right thing and ignore a potential contractor's political leanings. Rubio, you say, is being too trusting of the contractors. It cuts both ways. Where there is an opportunity for corruption, corruption exists, doubly so when politics is involved.The real question, not addressed in this article, is will this new law reduce overall corruption (with fewer bribes) or increase it (with contracts being used as political rewards)?

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