Southern Methodist University in Dallas announced last week that the university will be home to President Bush’s $200 million presidential library. Bush’s library, however, will be shrouded in secrecy.
An executive order Bush signed in 2001 “gives presidents and their families more control over presidential papers” and “could result in material being censored” from the library. The order also gives Bush “the right to veto requests to open any presidential records.”
The secrecy efforts are already beginning. In a press conference yesterday, President Bush admitted that his library would likely take foreign donations but said he would consider keeping the donors’ names confidential:
BUSH: We’ll look at the disclosure requirements and make a decision. There’s some people who like to give and don’t particularly want their names disclosed. […]
Q Any restrictions on who can give? Will you take foreign money for this?
BUSH: Yeah, probably take some foreign money, but don’t know yet, Ken. We just haven’t — we just announced the deal and I, frankly, have been focused elsewhere.
So, who are the likely candidates? In Nov. 2006, the New York Daily News reported that Bush hoped to get roughly $250 million in “megadonations” from some key allies:
Bush loyalists have already identified wealthy heiresses, Arab nations and captains of industry as potential “mega” donors.
Based on history, there may already be some specifics. Bush 41’s presidential library received donations from a sheik from the UAE, who contributed at least $1 million, the “state of Kuwait, the Bandar bin Sultan family, the Sultanate of Oman, King Hassan II of Morocco and the amir of Qatar. The former Korean prime minister and China also gave tens of thousands of dollars to the library.”
When asked if the public has “right to know,” Bush replied, “We’re weighing, taking a look, taking consideration, giving it a serious consideration. Nice try, though.”