Knoxville (Tenn.) News-Sentinel
Presidential libraries are a vitally important means of preserving the past. They help us understand what a leader brings to his presidency and the legacy he leaves the nation.
The libraries keep the presidential papers, pictures, artifacts and all other material related not merely to a president's time in office but to his life. Without them, our history is weaker and our understanding of our shared past is poorer.
Therefore, U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. is absolutely correct in seeking to cast sunlight on the process of private fundraising for these important repositories of the nation's past.
His quest is not new. He introduced a bill 14 years ago stipulating that donations to presidential libraries be made public. His current bill requires disclosure of any donation greater than $200.
His first effort to get this legislation passed came after he learned that an organization raising money for President Bill Clinton's library had received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Middle Eastern countries. This occurred while Clinton was in office.
Duncan, a Knoxville Republican, insists his effort is bipartisan, having introduced the legislation during the administrations of both Democratic and Republican presidents. ...
Presidential libraries are under the auspices of the National Archives and Records Administration. ...
The Archives website emphasizes that the presidential libraries and museums and the documents they hold "belong to the American people." The strongest way to honor that commitment is to require disclosure for private donations, and Duncan's bill is a long-overdue effort to accomplish that.