On Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said that labor unions and corporations that receive government contracts should be prohibited from contributing to political candidates to blunt crony capitalism in Washington.
Paul noted that speech, “whether you pay for it or not,” is speech and that “paid speech has to be protected.” He pointed out that left-leaning publications like the Chicago Tribune are not limited in how many opinion articles they can write even though they have clear political agendas.
However, he said there is not a guaranteed right to get government work, and there could be restrictions on government work that would “pass constitutional muster.”
Speaking with former Obama adviser David Axelrod at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, Paul said what he would do is ban labor unions or companies that receive government contracts from donating to candidates. He said he would put a clause in all government contracts that would make them only valid if the entities do not participate in donating to political candidates.
Paul said that companies and unions, for instance, will get a $10 million contract and then spend $1 million to hire lobbyists to get even more money, and he said that creates numerous conflicts of interest that are unseemly.
“It is sort of insulting to have taxpayer money go to an entity that turns around and then lobbies for more with that money,” Paul said, noting that is where “the biggest corrupting of the system comes from.”