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house Bill H.R. 73

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.

Brandon's Opinion
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01/07/2017
There's no such thing as too much transparency when it comes to government finance. We've clearly seen our representatives don't have the ability to be forthright unless we force them.
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Chaney's Opinion
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01/07/2017
Reporting your money to the US Public shouldn't even be a big deal, it should be commonplace to have politicians release reports on where money is going and being spent how, don't we all have a right to know how the government spends our money as well as the money it takes from interest groups with deep pockets and big agendas of their own?
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operaman's Opinion
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01/04/2017
I would certainly like to know if Solyndra's owners: George Kaiser Family Foundation, U.S. Venture Partners, CMEA Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Virgin Green Fund, Madrone Capital Partners, RockPort Capital Partners, Argonaut Private Equity, Masdar and Artis Capital Management and or any CEOs who helped bilked the US Taxpayers/Treasury out of $$$Millions$$$. Taxpayer's money filtered and scrubbed by the Obama 's Administration for "private" use building a Presidential Library.
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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.

Steve's Opinion
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01/04/2017
I agree with other comments. This has good intentions, but the limit is too low and it doesn't make sense that this would cost $1 million to implement. Increase the limit and lower the cost to implement and this should go forward.]
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Janice's Opinion
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01/04/2017
They can't buy influence of the POTUS anymore since he isn't in office. I'd watch more closely to donations made while they are in office as it makes more sense.
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Brian's Opinion
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01/04/2017
Let's spend more money on reports no one looks at.
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What is House Bill H.R. 73?

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. 73

$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 2017

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
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • The house Passed January 4th, 2017
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
    IntroducedJanuary 3rd, 2017

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    There's no such thing as too much transparency when it comes to government finance. We've clearly seen our representatives don't have the ability to be forthright unless we force them.
    Like (26)
    Follow
    Share
    I agree with other comments. This has good intentions, but the limit is too low and it doesn't make sense that this would cost $1 million to implement. Increase the limit and lower the cost to implement and this should go forward.]
    Like (25)
    Follow
    Share
    They can't buy influence of the POTUS anymore since he isn't in office. I'd watch more closely to donations made while they are in office as it makes more sense.
    Like (18)
    Follow
    Share
    I would certainly like to know if Solyndra's owners: George Kaiser Family Foundation, U.S. Venture Partners, CMEA Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Virgin Green Fund, Madrone Capital Partners, RockPort Capital Partners, Argonaut Private Equity, Masdar and Artis Capital Management and or any CEOs who helped bilked the US Taxpayers/Treasury out of $$$Millions$$$. Taxpayer's money filtered and scrubbed by the Obama 's Administration for "private" use building a Presidential Library.
    Like (17)
    Follow
    Share
    Reporting your money to the US Public shouldn't even be a big deal, it should be commonplace to have politicians release reports on where money is going and being spent how, don't we all have a right to know how the government spends our money as well as the money it takes from interest groups with deep pockets and big agendas of their own?
    Like (17)
    Follow
    Share
    Let's spend more money on reports no one looks at.
    Like (16)
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    Share
    A government by the People, for the People needs transparency & a free press to guard against the detractors of democracy & those who would buy/sell it off.
    Like (6)
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    I am tired of politicians not having to report monies that they receive. We need to know when the funds were received, who gave those funds, and how much were the funds. And the President should provide that info not another government agency.
    Like (6)
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    One statemernt is all I NEED to make, CLINTON FOUNDATION!!!!
    Like (6)
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    Transparency all around
    Like (5)
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    There should always be full transparency when the words donations and President are in the same sentence.
    Like (5)
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    The American people want to see transparency!!!! We want to know that government and elected officials are working for us and not for corporations!! We want to know that the person we vote for is on OUR side!!! Not on the side of who donated the most money!!!
    Like (4)
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    A presidential library is built after a presidents term and is no longer subject to such intense scrutiny. Unless ALL foundations are required, this isn't needed.
    Like (3)
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    What the hell difference will this make? We might as well put a FOR SALE sign on the Congress, the presidency & the judiciary. EVERY GOVERNMENT JOB on every level boils down to who bought the position with buying influence as the goal. There is so much dark money in our former democracy that it is no longer a democracy! Who gives a flip about presidential library funding? It is a tiny drop in an ocean of the buying & selling of political favor. This bill is a TOTAL WASTE OF TIME!
    Like (3)
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    Agreed the limit is way too low and the cost too high. Can donations be made to a presidential library fund while POTUS is still in office? If not, it looks like there's no issue here.
    Like (3)
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    Transparency is critical- all donations should be reported and make the foundations pay the cost.
    Like (3)
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    Yes, donations to a presidential library should be made public. There is always a quid pro quo that must be exposed. Even if the president is no longer in office- as in the case of the Clintons, you never know when a spouse will run for office.
    Like (3)
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    For sure. In the past, these donations have been used for "pay to play." If we truly want to stop the corruption, we need to be transparent on everything.
    Like (3)
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    In spite of the Supreme Court's terrible Citizens United decision, I strongly support disclosure of all donations that could provide political funding.
    Like (3)
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    POTUS influence is waning by this point in the game that they are considering a library, why waste money making these reports that literally no one in the general public will ever read. For Christ sake people it's a library, just be happy they are still being built.
    Like (3)
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