Thursday May 26, 2011 | 03:54 PM

Sen. Susan Collins has joined the Senate’s top Republican and two other GOP senators in introducing legislation that would prohibit federal agencies from compiling or employing information about the political contributions made by federal contractors and companies bidding on federal business.

Last month, Collins, the top Republican on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, joined with more than two dozen other GOP senators – including Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine – in sending a letter to President Obama criticizing his plan to require federal contractors to disclose campaign contributions as part of their efforts to win government work.
The Obama administration says the move would spur greater transparency and accountability in vetting contractors. But in the letter to the president spearheaded by Collins and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the GOP senators say that, instead, the executive order Obama is expected to sign “would make political considerations a part of every federal contract offer. We urge you not to sign” the executive order.
Now McConnell, as well as GOP Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Rob Portman of Ohio, are co-authoring legislation to try to keep the White House from putting its plan, still in draft form, into effect.
"The president's draft order would insert politics into the federal procurement process," said Collins said in a statement today.  "Our bill would keep politics out of federal contracting.  What possible good can come from linking political information to a process which must be grounded solely and unequivocally on providing the very best value to American taxpayers? “

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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