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Duncan Bill Brings Transparency to Presidential Libraries

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

A bill introduced this week by Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.) would shine light on the closed and secretive process of Presidential library fundraising.

The measure (H.R. 1133) requires presidential library fundraisers to disclose any donation of more than $200, and it is expected to receive swift action in the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform where Rep. Duncan serves.

"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.

In a hearing Wednesday on federal government transparency in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Sunlight Foundation Policy Counsel Daniel Schuman endorsed Rep. Duncan's measure.

"(This bill) would require presidential libraries to disclose their donors, which would provide valuable information on special interests whose donations put them in close proximity with (future) former presidents," Schuman said.

Rep. Duncan's Presidential library transparency bill passed the U.S. House with large bipartisan majorities in 2002, 2007, and 2009.

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