MRAA takes stand on national legislation

BOCA GRANDE, Fla. — The Marine Retailers Association of America (MRAA) is supporting the “Keep Politics out of the Federal Contracting Act of 2011.” It is among a coalition of 156 organizations that support the measures.

The bill has been attached to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act and the massive $690 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1540), according to a statement by Larry Innis, MRAA’s director of governmental affairs. The Cole Amendment would ensure that “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to implement any rule, regulation, or executive order regarding the disclosure of political contributions that takes effect on or after the date of enactment of this Act.”

MRAA has also sent letters to members of Congress, suggesting that the federal acquisition process has worked well free of political influence.

Innis said that the congressional actions are in response to a draft Presidential Executive Order under consideration that would force companies and non-profit organizations vying for federal contracts and grants to reveal employee donations and membership payments to advocacy groups and trade associations, like MRAA, that engage in even a small amount of political speech. Contributions to political candidates, parties, and PACs are already disclosed as part of the federal law governing federal elections.

The draft order is meant to target organizations that are not political in nature, but may engage in some political speech as part of their broader mission, he wrote.

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