Ah, Citizens United, the political can of worms that keeps on opening. Federal contractors have been banned from making political donations for 36 years, but because of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, it's now unclear whether they can give to super PACs. American Crossroads (a Republican super PAC) says federal contractors cannot donate. So does Priorities USA Action (a pro-Obama super PAC). But the Romney-supporting Restore Our Future? It says yes they can, and has raked in $890,000 from at least five companies with federal government contracts, reports the Los Angeles Times.
"It's a risk judgment that clients need to make," said a Washington compliance lawyer. Other experts advise contractors and super PACs to wait until federal law and regulators clarify the issue. Charlie Spies, the treasurer for Restore Our Future, had no comment. But apparently he has sent letters to contractors telling them that the decision in Citizens United means they are now free to give all they would like. But when one of the donors to Restore Our Future heard from the Times, it talked to a lawyer and promptly asked for its $5,000 back. On the other hand, Oxbow Carbon, a large coal and petroleum company founded by William Koch, says it is confident its $750,000 in donations to Restore Our Future is a perfectly legal contribution. (Read more super PACs stories.)