Disclosure for Presidential Library Contributions


On Saturday, The Dallas Morning News ran an op-ed from Sen. Joe Lieberman in which he called on President Bush to make all documents public regarding his presidential library. This followed President Bush’s press conference on Feb. 28 where he discussed his planned $200-million-plus library in Dallas on the campus of Southern Methodist University, saying that he would accept donations from foreign sources and that if donors wanted their names kept confidential he would consider that request, according to The New York Times.

Fundraising for presidential libraries continues to be a blind spot when it comes to disclosure. Unlike contributions to an electoral campaign, gifts to the libraries are unlimited and undisclosed, and they can receive money from corporations and foreign governments. As Think Progress reports, Bush-the-Elder accepted large donations from foreign governmental figures, including a donation that is believed to be in excess of $1 million from the United Arab Emirates. A presidential pardon for a six-figure contributor to Bill Clinton’s library and political campaigns left the indelible impression with many that a presidential pardon was purchased, according to 2007 congressional testimony of colleague Sheila Krumholz, director of the Center for Responsive Politics.

Good for Lieberman for calling out Bush.

Openness and transparency in the way government does business is not a passing fancy for Lieberman. He was the lead sponsor of the E Government Act of 2002 and is the sponsor of the proposed E-Government Reauthorization Act of 2007