February 7, 2012

Obama Feigns Helplessness With Citizens United; In Reality, He Could Issue A Disclosure Executive Order Today

Barack ObamaLast night, President Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina disappointed reform advocates by announcing that the president has decided to embrace the pro-Democratic Party super PAC, Priorities USA Action. The super PAC was founded by two former White House aides, Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney.

The email from Messina, entitled “We Will Not Play By Two Sets of Rules” explained that while the president opposed the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United and the super PACs that arose from it, his “campaign has to face the reality of the law as it currently stands.” Messina oddly argued that inviting a flood of special interest money into a pro-Obama super PAC will “neutralize the onslaught of special-interest money.”

Indeed, even President Obama himself suggested that he has no option but to enable super PAC spending in an interview with Matt Lauer that was taped Sunday afternoon. View it below:

The truth is that the president has a lot of power to change things. He could quite easily issue an executive order forcing the disclosure of political spending by government contractors — a proposal that’s been sitting around somewhere in the White House since early last year. That order would negate some of the unfortunate side effects of our current campaign finance system — and it would be an important sign from the president that he’s willing to back up reforms with more than his words.