Thursday, May 19, 2011

Today's news and views

● A group of more than 80 business groups have told President Obama to "abandon" a draft executive order requiring federal contractors to disclose political contributions. Groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Petroleum Institute, the National Retail Federation and the National Association of Manufacturers claimed the disclosure requirement would "chill their free speech rights" according to The Hill.

● Federal contributions are down 30 percent to the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and Clean Water State Revolving Fund, the two federal programs that offer no- or low-cost loans to upgrade municipal drinking water systems, and small towns are feeling the pinch.

● Five Republican Senators—Orrin G. Hatch (Utah), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Pat Roberts (Kan.) John Cornyn (Texas), John Thune (S.D.) and Richard Burr (N.C.)—have signed on to a letter to IRS commissioner Douglas H. Shulman asking why the agency has begun investigating potential tax liability in large donations to 501(c)4 groups after decades of looking the other way, and asking whether following the rules represents a violation of donors' constitutional rights.

● Scott McLarty looks for a language to describe a radical ideology for the 21st century.

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