Contractors and Campaign Contributions

My husband and I are involved in government. (Obviously… we own and run a government contracting consulting firm.)

But outside of work, we are involved. We are passionate advocates for small business opportunities in public sector contracting at all levels of government – local, state and federal. As a result of our involvement, we have grown to respect and befriend many elected officials who have proven their work ethic and ability to reason. (Yes, there are some that exist.) We’re moderates – not partisans. We care about issues affecting small business, and we are educated voters.

Despite this involvement, we made a conscious decision – very deliberately and thoughtfully – that as the owners of this firm, we would not contribute to individual candidates. Despite how much we like and respect them, we won’t. The reason? We don’t want to do anything to put our clients in jeopardy. The public sector is a unique fishbowl, and transparency laws are good. We don’t want our actions to tarnish our clients. If our personal campaign contributions are perceived as buying favor, we would harm our company and our clients. So, we decided to avoid this.

We made this decision years ago. Today, we believe it was the right one. We donate generously to political action committees that advocate for small business issues, but we still don’t give to individual candidates. And sometimes, when a candidate really strikes the right cord for us, we struggle. Shameless plug: the Small Business Association of Michigan operates two PACs for small business advocacy. This one gets most of our support.

Court rulings regarding contractor campaign contributions intrigue us. We agree this is a free speech issue… but it is also an issue of transparency in government and public confidence in the procurement process.

This blog is a response to an article published by Government Executive and can be read here.

Contractors and Campaign Contributions