What’s With These Guys?


Every single time we look around one Senator or another (in our experience usually a Republican) is blocking a piece of legislation that would require greater transparency for the work of Congress. First, it was Sen. Ted Stevens who had a secret hold on the Coburn-Obama bill that ultimately passed after pressure from the blogosphere, then there is Sen. Mitch McConnell who is effectively is hiding the Senator who is blocking a bill that would create electronic filing for Senators' campaign finance reports, and now there's Sen. Stevens (seems to be a pattern here)… who blocked the markup of legislation that would provide transparency for presidential library donations, which currently have no official disclosure requirements.

According the the BNA Money and Politics Report,

The presidential library measure, which was advanced earlier this year by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), would require organizations established to raise funds for future presidential libraries to report on a quarterly basis all contributions of $200 or more.

Under the new bill, contributions would be reported to the National Archives, which has responsibility for overseeing the operations of presidential libraries. Current law says that donations for a presidential library can be unlimited in size and do not need to be disclosed, unless they come from a federal political committee or other entity that must disclose its expenditures.


Obviously fund raising for presidential libaries while the president is still in office is highly problematic. Good example from BNA: "Fund raising for President Bush's future presidential library reportedly is going on now, and the estimated cost of the future Bush library is believed to be as much as $500 million."

Sen. Stevens has apparently obected that the new law would be prospective, e.g. it would capture what is going on now and in the future, but not the fundraising by former presidents and he's interested in former President Bill Clinton's fundraising for his library. But that's ridiculous. All legislation is prospective There is a very real conflict of interest in private contributions to a sitting president to fund his legacy library. The public ought to know who's contributing this money, in real time.