Groups Ask House to Vote on Bill to Make Presidential Library Fundraising More Transparent

On February 6, more than 20 groups joined to urge the House Leadership to schedule time to debate and vote on H.R. 1133, the Presidential Library Donation Reform Act.

Currently, presidents raise funds privately to establish their presidential libraries. As these efforts often begin well before they leave office, and the system is completely unregulated and undisclosed, the fund-raising creates opportunities for, or the appearance of, influence-peddling.

H.R. 1133 brings a measure of transparency to the system by 1) requiring fundraising organizations to submit quarterly reports on entities that have contributed above a certain threshold towards a presidential library, and 2) requiring that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) make the reports available in a searchable, sortable, downloadable database as soon as they are received.

Our friends over at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington — CREW have pulled together a few recent examples of scandals related to presidential library fundraising. Though H.R.1133 would not put an end to such controversies, it would enhance public trust by making the system less attractive to those seeking to anonymously influence policy makers.