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Tag Archive: Sheila Krumholz

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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Where the Money Comes from Matters

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The official voting of the 2008 presidential race begins tonight at the Iowa Caucuses. And next Tuesday, New Hampshire voters will cast votes in the first primary of the election. Before casting a ballot I want to encourage everyone in all states to visit OpenSecrets.org, the website of our colleagues at the Center for Responsive Politics, the "follow the money" folks. CRP's easily accessed Race for the White House database profiles the fund raising and spending of each candidate's campaign. Unfortunately, because of filing rules, CRP only has data through September 30. Fund raising and spending reports for October through December are not due to the Federal Election Commission until the end of this month. Nevertheless, the data CRP has shows the important early period where the various candidates' strengths and weaknesses is gauged largely by the amount of money raised.

CRP breaks down the data to reveal each candidate's contributors by state, metropolitan area and zip code; contribution size; gender and industry the donor is associated with. You can even look up individual donors by candidate, industry or ZIP code. "Before you vote, count the candidates' cash," CRP Executive Director Sheila Krumholz advises Iowa and New Hampshire residents, as well as those in later-voting states. "Just as it's important to know the candidates, it's important to know who got them this far and might hold sway with them in the White House," Sheila adds.

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