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house Bill H.R. 1069

Should Donations to Presidential Library Foundations be Disclosed?

Argument in favor

Making a donation towards a presidential library is essentially a political donation, but without campaign contribution limits — meaning that it can be a way to buy influence if it isn't monitored.

BTSundra's Opinion
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01/15/2016
This makes it easier to prevent corruption, and there's no reason this should be a secret.
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Mina's Opinion
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01/12/2016
Donations to anything should be made public. Shouldn't matter what for or how much, all donations should be available to the public.
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Mike's Opinion
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05/09/2016
Making a donation of any type toward a presidential library should be fully disclosed to the public as it can, technically, be seen as a political donation. It would allow people to see how much is being donated and by whom
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Argument opposed

Many of the people making a donation of $200 or more aren’t doing it to buy influence — they want to preserve history. It seems unfair to treat a $200 donation the same as a $200,000 donation.

Kristyna 's Opinion
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05/21/2016
If the donation is just going to maseum for things like up keep or purchasing new items then what donated shouldn't matter. It's when the money is being used to influence legislation is when the donation should matter and be counted towards political donations
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Gary's Opinion
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09/21/2016
Presidential libraries do not influence politics or society in any meaningful way. This smacks of one political party keeping tabs on who donates to the opposing party's presidential libraries. I think the government does enough snooping as it is, and donations are reported both by the donor and recipient. There's no compelling governmental interest in public disclosure of this nature. I'm sure it's purely a partisan interest, and we have far too much of that as it is.
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Jay's Opinion
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01/23/2016
It's a free country. Should i have to disclose the cash I gave that homeless guy last night too? I wasn't even going to claim it on my taxes. Let people do nice things for each other without the government getting all uptight about it.
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What is House Bill H.R. 1069?

This bill would require organizations that fundraise for presidential libraries to report donor information and donation amounts on a quarterly basis. The data would then be displayed — in a free, searchable, sortable, and downloadable format — on the National Archives website within 30 days of receiving the fundraising organization’s report.

The reporting requirements would apply to all donations (either monetary or in-kind) that exceed $200 in value. Donor names, addresses, occupations, and the amount of the donation would all be made publicly available. These requirements would be in effect while the President is in office, and would end when the President leaves office or when the federal government assumes control of the library — whichever happens later.

Impact

Organizations that fundraise for presidential libraries and the people and entities that donate to them, presidential reputations, and the National Archives.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1069

$1.00 Million
The CBO estimates that implementing this legislation would cost about $1 million over the 2016-2020 period.

More Information

Of Note: Donations to presidential libraries have been under scrutiny since the Clinton administration. In 2000 it was discovered that Denise Rich donated $450,000 to the Clinton presidential library prior to President Clinton pardoning Ms. Rich’s husband who was wanted on 51 counts of tax and mail fraud, racketeering, and illegally violating a trade embargo with Iran.

During the George W. Bush administration a former lobbyist suggested that a foreign politician should make a $250,000 donation to the Bush library in order to secure meetings with senior members of the administration. Currently, the Obama Foundation — which raises money for President Obama’s presidential library — only provides ranges for the amounts of donations it has received.


In-Depth: This legislation has a long  if unsuccessful  history in Congress. Previous versions passed the House in 2002, 2007 (when it was blocked in the Senate), and 2009. It was introduced in the House in 2013, where it survived committee but did not see a floor vote, and it was introduced in the Senate in 2014 only to meet a similar fate.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user FDR Presidential Library & Museum)

AKA

Presidential Library Donation Reform Act of 2016

Official Title

To amend title 44, United States Code, to require information on contributors to Presidential library fundraising organizations, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Passed January 11th, 2016
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
    IntroducedFebruary 25th, 2015

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    This makes it easier to prevent corruption, and there's no reason this should be a secret.
    Like (51)
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    If the donation is just going to maseum for things like up keep or purchasing new items then what donated shouldn't matter. It's when the money is being used to influence legislation is when the donation should matter and be counted towards political donations
    Like (8)
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    Share
    Donations to anything should be made public. Shouldn't matter what for or how much, all donations should be available to the public.
    Like (12)
    Follow
    Share
    Making a donation of any type toward a presidential library should be fully disclosed to the public as it can, technically, be seen as a political donation. It would allow people to see how much is being donated and by whom
    Like (7)
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    Why the secrecy?
    Like (3)
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    Presidential libraries do not influence politics or society in any meaningful way. This smacks of one political party keeping tabs on who donates to the opposing party's presidential libraries. I think the government does enough snooping as it is, and donations are reported both by the donor and recipient. There's no compelling governmental interest in public disclosure of this nature. I'm sure it's purely a partisan interest, and we have far too much of that as it is.
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    Definitely. I want to know whom is investing in whom.
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    When it comes to the government and money transparency is pretty much always a good idea.
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    This is a logical transparent move. I'd support the donation disclosure watermark to be risen however. Say $1000?
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    The influence peddling of former presidents must be exposed. Expand this legislation to ensure the "charitable" organizations (such as the Clinton Foundation) can no longer be used by foreign interests to corrupt our government.
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    A presidential library is not a political matter. Yes, you're supporting a candidate, but only after they've won office. It should be treated as any other library or school or other place named after/built in honor of a former President.
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    Yes. Why should this be hidden? Are they ashamed? The government knows everything about you. Why shouldn't the people know more about who is backing them. Just my opinion
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    It's a free country. Should i have to disclose the cash I gave that homeless guy last night too? I wasn't even going to claim it on my taxes. Let people do nice things for each other without the government getting all uptight about it.
    Like (2)
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    Congress should fully fund the construction and maintenance of all presidential libraries. This step fixes any perceptions of illegal fundraising completely.
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    We should have complete and open transparency!
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    Government is in the service of the best interest for the people, of the people, to the people not big businesses.
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    All of these presidential libraries seem to be secretive and corrupt.
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    High amounts of money can make it unfair for lesser known candidates.
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    What self-serving donors are recreating historical truth by determining what goes into such libraries? We need to know.
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    Any amount of funds sent to a public servant should be disclosed. The public should be able to have transparency.
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