WASHINGTON – Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN) introduced bipartisan legislation Wednesday to shine light on the closed and secretive process of presidential library fundraising.
The Presidential Library Donation Reform Act of 2015 would require presidential library fundraisers to disclose any donation of more than $200. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, joined as the lead Democratic co-sponsor of the bill.
“Presidential library fundraising organizations are formed while a president is in office and collect donations from individuals, corporations and foreign governments with no limit on the contribution amount. When there is no requirement for disclosing the donor or the amounts being donated, there is great potential for abuse,” Duncan said.
“I first introduced this bill in 1999 after learning that foreign governments from the Middle East were making very large donations to the proposed library for President Clinton. However, this is not a partisan issue. I introduced and have supported this legislation under both Democratic and Republican presidents,” Duncan continued.
“The Presidential Library Donation Act is a bipartisan, good government bill that would bring transparency to the process under which presidential libraries are built,” said Ranking Member Cummings. “The bill would require that the identities of those who donate to help construct a president’s library be disclosed.”
In 2013, Sunlight Foundation Policy Director Daniel Schuman endorsed this bill during a hearing on federal government transparency in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, saying it “would provide valuable information on special interests whose donations put them in close proximity with presidents.”
Swift action on the measure is expected in the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Rep. Duncan’s presidential library transparency bill passed the U.S. House with large bipartisan majorities in 2002, 2007, and 2009.
Watch Rep. Duncan speak about this bill on the House floor HERE.