By Blair Page, a Summer 2022 CLC intern
The 80-year-old ban on federal contractors making political donations protects against the appearance or reality that taxpayer-funded federal contracts are effectively “for sale.” The ban is a key defense against the formation of a corrupt “pay-to-play” system in which wealthy special interests are rewarded for their political contributions with lucrative government contracts.
That’s why Campaign Legal Center (CLC) has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that Medical Place, Inc. violated the federal contractor contribution ban by donating to a super PAC while actively negotiating or performing on federal contracts.
Medical Place, which is based in Alabama and describes itself as a “small business specializing in medical, respiratory, pharmaceutical, laboratory, telemedicine equipment and supplies,” has received nearly $100 million in contracts from federal government agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense.
On February 2nd and April 6th of 2022, Alabama Conservatives Fund, a single-candidate super PAC that has spent over $2 million dollars supporting Katie Britt’s campaign for the U.S. Senate in Alabama, received contributions from Medical Place totaling $100,000.
These contributions were made while Medical Place held multiple active federal contracts — a blatant violation of federal law.
When federal contractors make political contributions to support federal candidates or officeholders, it undermines the integrity of the democratic process by creating the appearance (or reality) of corruption.
Protecting the integrity of government is crucial to ensuring a healthy democracy. Having wealthy, well-connected private interests tip the scales in their favor only serves to weaken the belief that our government looks out for the needs of the many, not the few.
The FEC, which is responsible for the enforcement of federal campaign finance laws, including the federal contractor contribution ban, must enforce the law by taking action in response to Medical Place’s clear violation of law. Only by taking action can the FEC uphold the integrity of our democratic system by preventing corruption in our political system and deterring future violations.
Public officials are supposed to make decisions based on what is best for the public, not on who spent the most money getting them elected.