SIGN ON BY COB 4/24: Presidential Library Transparency

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Amy Bennett

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Apr 19, 2013, 9:38:07 AM4/19/13
to openhous...@googlegroups.com, OpenGovtDirective (opengovernmentdirective@googlegroups.com), FEN, FOI-L (FOI-L@listserv.syr.edu), no-free-lu...@googlegroups.com, Matt Rumsey

Hi everyone (apologies for cross-posting),

 

As you may know, the George W. Bush Presidential Library is scheduled to dedicated on April 25. Our friends at the Sunlight Foundation that this would be a particularly good time to ask Congress to pass a bill to address some of the long-standing issues with secrecy around the funding of Presidential Libraries.

 

To add your organization to the below letter in support of HR 1133, the Presidential Library Donation Reform Act, which was recently passed by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and would require quarterly reporting of entities that have contributed large sums towards a presidential library, please fill out the form here by COB Wednesday, April 24: https://docs.google.com/a/sunlightfoundation.com/forms/d/1YVb-ShA1piOYZXgtke73k3cGsCw-PZSmNiuzNXVIS3o/viewform

 

Thanks,

 

Amy Bennett

Assistant Director, OpenTheGovernment.org

**********

Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Pelosi,

 

We the undersigned are writing to express our support for the Presidential Library Donation Reform Act, introduced in the 113th Congress as H.R. 1133. The legislation is the latest of a series of bipartisan efforts to bring a welcome measure of transparency to fundraising around presidential libraries.

 

For far too long, a cloud has hung over library fundraising efforts. Oftentimes, it appeared that donors supported presidential libraries because of the connection it built with a president whose imminent departure put him in a position to dole out favors, an inference only strengthened by the lack of disclosure around contributions. Improved transparency would help reduce the appearance of impropriety by bringing these transactions into the daylight and deterring inappropriate behavior.

 

The legislation requires fundraising organizations to submit quarterly reports on entities that have contributed over a certain threshold towards a presidential library. The reports shall be made available online by the National Archives as soon as they are received in a searchable, sortable, downloadable database.

 

While greater transparency on donations to presidential libraries does not resolve all outstanding campaign finance disclosure issues, it is a measured response to a discrete problem and is worthy of support.

 

The Presidential Library Donation Reform Act was recently reportedly favorably by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. We hope that Congress speedily considers and enacts this legislation.


Sincerely,

 

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