WASHINGTON - The U.S. House of Representatives passed without opposition Monday a bill introduced by Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.) to bring transparency to presidential libraries.
The measure—H.R. 1069, the Presidential Library Donation Reform Act—would require any donation to a President’s library greater than $200 be disclosed to the public and posted online.
“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 this legislation under both Democratic and Republican presidents, and it has passed the House before under both Democratic and Republican Speakers,” Duncan continued.
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.”