U.S. congressional actions on presidential library funding

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The presidential library system began in 1939 under President Franklin Roosevelt. FDR raised private funds to build his library, then turned the title over to the National Archives. Over time, the cost of maintaining so many presidential libraries became burdensome for the federal government, and private funders were then also required to provide an operating endowment. Because sitting presidents may begin to raise funds and because there is no limit to donations and no requirement for public disclosure, the prospect of influencing a sitting president with a generous donation exists. This issue was addressed in the 110th Congress. [1]

Contents

Legislation

110th Congress

Rep. Waxman introduces disclosure bill

On March 14, the House considered a bill, (H.R.1254), sponsored by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), which would require greater disclosure of contributors to presidential library funds.


Specifically, it would [2]:

  • Require disclosure of information about contributors and that organizations established to raise the funds report quarterly on all contributions of $200 or more. The information would be required to be disclosed while a president is in office and before the federal government took delivery of the library. [3]
  • Require that the amount and date of each donation, the name and address of the contributor, if the contributor is an individual, and his/her occupation be disclosed. The data would need to be posted on a free, searchable database. [4]
  • State that it is a crime for a contributor or organization raising funds to knowingly submit false information or omit material information regarding a contribution. It would also be illegal to make a contribution in someone else’s name or to allow someone to do so. The National Archives would be required to promulgate fines and punishment for such breaches. The fines and punishments would parallel fines and punishments levied for similar violations of federal campaign law. [5]

The bill passed by a vote of 390-34.


Articles and resources

See also

References

  1. Robert McElroy, "Presidential Library Donations Scrutinized," TheWeekInCongress, March 16, 2007.
  2. Robert McElroy, "Presidential Library Donations Scrutinized," TheWeekInCongress, March 16, 2007.
  3. Robert McElroy, "Presidential Library Donations Scrutinized," TheWeekInCongress, March 16, 2007.
  4. Robert McElroy, "Presidential Library Donations Scrutinized," TheWeekInCongress, March 16, 2007.
  5. Robert McElroy, "Presidential Library Donations Scrutinized," TheWeekInCongress, March 16, 2007.

External resources

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