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Tag Archive: Presidential Libraries

Obama library bid gets lobbyist donors

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President Barack Obama has yet to pick a site for his presidential library, but Hawaii's bid for it got a $5,000 donation from the global law and lobbying firm Skadden Arps.

The disclosure was made last week, when lobbyists reported their 2013 contributions to candidates and for presidential libraries and other causes. The donation came in January when Skadden Arps co-sponsored the Hawaii Presidential Center Inaugural Gala in Washington during the weekend of Obama's second inauguration. 

While the money did not go to the president or any committees associated with him, it's an early indication of ...

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House panel tries to open the (financial) books of presidential libraries

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As President Obama faces choosing between Hawaii and Chicago as the site of his presidential library, a House committee today greenlighted a bill that would make donors to the institution public.

The next step will be a vote in the full House.

The bill would require future presidential library foundations to report donors to the National Archives on a quarterly basis. The Archives would then post them online in a searchable, downloadable database. The Sunlight Foundation's policy counsel, Daniel Schuman, testified in favor of the measure last week.

The state of Hawaii wants the library near this spot in ...

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Disclosure for Presidential Library Contributions

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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

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Corruption Amidst the Stacks

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The fundraising for presidential libraries continues to be a blind spot when it comes to disclosure and an open and transparent government. Unlike contributions to an electoral campaign, gifts to the libraries are unlimited and undisclosed, and they can take money from corporations and foreign governments. This is worth repeating: Presidential libraries have no restrictions on the size of financial contributions they can receive, and they are not required to report who their contributors are. Plus, they can receive gifts from corporations and foreign governments! It is illegal for political campaigns to receive contributions from corporations and foreign governments. And another egregious aspect of presidential library fundraising that all of this unlimited, undisclosed fundraising involving corporations and foreign governments is going on while the nation's chief executive is still in office...The most powerful man or woman in the world. As Sheila Krumholz, director of the Center for Responsive Politics and friend, said in testimony to Congress in February 2007, "The potential (for corruption with the libraries) may be far greater than in the campaign finance system."

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What’s With These Guys?

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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.

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