Tuesday, November 20, 2007 

ABC News: Clinton Library Sells Secret Donor List

ABC News: Clinton Library Sells Secret Donor List
November 19, 2007

Three years after the William J. Clinton Presidential Library opened its doors, the list of donors who helped the former president build his $165 million complex remains a secret from the public.

Yet the Blotter on ABCNews.com has learned that the Clinton Foundation sold portions of the list through a data company headed by a longtime friend and donor.

"The fact that they've sold the list and then turned around and said that these names must be kept anonymous completely undercuts their argument," said Sheila Krumholz of the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington, D.C.-based government watchdog group that tracks the influence of money in politics.

An employee of Walter Karl, a subsidiary of the data company InfoUSA, told ABCNews.com that the company made a list of more than 38,000 donors to the Clinton presidential library available for sale to foundations and other nonprofit groups from June 2006 to May 2007. A spokesman for the company would not say how the profits from the sale of the partial list were distributed.

There is no legal requirement for presidential libraries to disclose the identities of their contributors. Donors, including corporations and foreign governments, can give unlimited amounts while the president is still sitting in office.

"This is one of the few places that remain under the veil of secrecy, and there is really no good reason for it," says Krumholz. "Disclosure is important because the money is often being raised while the president is in office, and in this case and with the Bush family, they can be given for currying favor with persons other than the president being honored."

"I don't think I should disclose it unless there is some conflict of which I am aware of, and there is not," said former President Bill Clinton at a news conference in September after his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, was questioned about the donor list at a presidential debate. "A lot of people gave me money with the understanding that they could give anonymously. And if they gave publicly, they would be the target for every other politician in America."

The Clinton Foundation did not return calls requesting comment for this story.

The former foundation chairman Skip Rutherford says that when the foundation started soliciting funds, it adopted the policy of the Reagan library to leave disclosure up to donors.

"People were told that we would not disclose their gifts," said Rutherford. "Disclosure was up to the donor; if the donors chose to do so, it was their prerogative. Some did; others didn't."...
"Most of those lists are people who have given $100 or $200 or less," he said.

The little that is known about the identities of the donors to the Clinton library was reported by the New York Sun in 2004, after a reporter discovered the names on a touch-screen computer on the third floor of the library after its opening.

Members of the Saudi royal family, Arab businessmen, the governments of Dubai, Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei and Taiwan, and Hollywood celebrities, were among the 57 individuals or foundations who gave $1 million or more to the library, according to the Sun.

The computer with the list of donors was disconnected after the Sun article ran. At the time, Clinton officials said that a permanent list of donors contributing $100,000 or more would eventually be installed on a wall at the library.

Bill Rollnick, the former chairman of Mattel and a longtime Clinton supporter who was among those contributing $1 million or more, said he didn't think the donor list was "anybody's business."

"If they want to make it public, that's their business," said Rollnick. "There's nothing nefarious about it -- it's just a library."

Another top donor, Patricia Hotung, was dismayed to learn that the list had been for sale.
"It should be kept private to protect people's privacy," said Hotung. "They shouldn't be selling it."

A contribution from Hotung to the Democratic National Committee generated controversy in 1997 when it was reported that Democratic officials had arranged for her husband, Hong Kong businessman Eric Hotung, to meet with President Clinton's top national security advisers after she contributed $100,000 to the committee...

To view entire article, please visit: http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/11/clinton-library.html

Wednesday, November 07, 2007 

What Is Hillary Clinton Hiding Now?

Clinton Papers Won't Be Released Until After Election

Diane Blair Papers Detailing 1992 Clinton Campaign Won't Be Released Until 2009


Nov. 6, 2007 — Democratic frontrunner Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., has been taking heat from her Democratic and Republican opponents for the reams of papers detailing her various activities as First Lady that the National Archives has yet to release from the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library.

And now questions are being raised about why another set of papers relevant to her political career at yet another Arkansas library will not be available to the public until well after election day 2008, despite earlier indications that the papers would have been released by now.
Those papers were written by Diane Blair, a close friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton, who taught and engaged in Arkansas politics until her death due to lung cancer in 2000.

As a trusted friend during then-Gov. Bill Clinton's successful presidential run in 1992, Blair was permitted to extensively interview 126 senior and junior Clinton campaign aides, which resulted in four enormous binders full of information.

The information was to be published in a book that Blair, a historian and author, ultimately never wrote.

Only two copies of the Blair Report were ever made; one was given to the Clintons, the other remained in Blair's custody until after her death, whereupon the books were given to the University of Arkansas Library.

Last month the University of Arkansas announced that the Blair Papers would not be made public until 2009. Andrea Cantrell, the head of research services at the university library's Special Collections, told reporters that the Papers were not yet processed.

But that claim seems questionable, according to statements the Library itself has made obtained by ABC News.

In its 2005-2006 University Libraries annual report, for example, the University of Arkansas reported that the process was almost done. "Archivists were hired to process both the Diane Blair Papers and the records of former third district Congressman Asa Hutchinson, and both collections are nearing completion."

Moreover, while in November 2005 the University appointed Kerry Jones the "Diane Blair Papers Archivist," the University Of Arkansas Library Newsletter one year later, in 2006, implied the job has been completed, describing Jones as having "previously processed the papers of the late Diane Blair."

Jones was desribed as taking on a new task, as part of the Special Collections Department team "gearing up to begin processing its largest manuscript collection, the papers of former U. S. Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt."

"All I can say is that was a preliminary estimation and neither of the collections that were reported on are finished, neither Blair nor Congressman Hutchinson's papers," Tom Dillard, head of the Special Collections Department, told ABC News. "They're just not ready."

Dillard acknowledged that while "there has been a preliminary processing," and that Jones "did his part," the Blair Papers require much more "quality control" work.

"The big problem are the oral histories," he said. "Those require a lot of legwork. The other process is going through it box by box and making sure the contents of what's in the file folders is what they're supposed to be. There is a lot more work that needs to be done."

A spokesman for Clinton's Senate office, Philippe Reines, told ABC News that no one from Clinton's Senate office, her campaign, or from the office of former President Clinton have had any contact with the University of Arkansas about delaying the release of the Diane Blair papers.

"It's not a conspiracy," Dillard told ABC News. No representative of the Clintons has been in touch with the Library, he said. "No, absolutely not. No political campaign has been in touch with us. Nor have any individuals been in touch with us asking us to do anything different from what we would normally do."

The library newsletter indicated that two years ago Jones had extra help in processing the papers.

"Visitors to the Library's Special Collections Department might notice two students working diligently processing the papers of the late Professor Diane Blair," wrote the University Of Arkansas Library Newsletter in 2005.

"These students are the first two Diane Blair Interns appointed by the University Honors College in a collaborative venture with the University Libraries."

Intern Lindley Carruth Shedd "commented that she finds her work in the Blair papers fascinating, and she believes the Blair collection "will be a great resource to those who want to study women's issues, state politics, or Bill and Hillary Clinton."

Two biographies of Clinton released this year and criticized by the Clinton campaign -- Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr.'s "Her Way" and Carl Bernstein's "A Woman In Charge" -- reported on the Blair papers as a treasure trove of information about the 1992 Clinton campaign.

Blair's "questions, based on extensive preparation," wrote Gerth and Van Natta, "elicited candid remarks from aides who trusted her. She chronicled the highs and lows of a dogged campaign and quickly generated a mountain of insightful information.

In the end, she compiled her lengthy report -- the introduction alone numbered thirty pages -- into 'big bound volumes.'" Bernstein was able to interview Blair before her death and see the papers.

Dillard said he did not know when the Blair Papers would be made available, and he said the Library would not release her 1992 report separately since it was not customary.
"We always open a collection in its entirety because individual component parts do not always make sense," he said.

Despite Clinton's suggestions that she would support a more transparent government as President, Newsweek first reported , that in November 2002 former President Bill Clinton specifically requested that the Archives "consider for withholding" various "confidential communications" including those pertaining to "sensitive policy, personal or political" matters as well as "communications directly between the President and First Lady, and their families, unless routine in nature."

The term "withhold" is a term of art relating to presidential papers not necessarily meaning that the papers be kept from the public, but rather that they be reviewed before release.
Historians have complained that while the decision of what to release is ultimately up to the National Archives, Clinton's letter at the very least doesn't expedite the process and may even be delaying it, though the former President disputes that.

The National Archives controversy, as well as questions about the release of the Blair Papers, touch on a murky and well-traveled ground where politicians insist they are releasing information while historians and reporters suspect forces at play delaying immediate disclosure.

Information as yet un-released from the the days of her husband's presidency stored at the Bill Clinton Library constitutes more than 99 percent of 78 million pages' worth and 20 million emails worth of documents, according to the National Archives.

In response to questions about papers not yet released by the Clinton Library, Sen. Clinton told Radio Iowa, "I think it's like people think we have boxes of records in our basement and why don't I just go and get them and hand them over. And you know my husband has never blocked a record ever. He has been the most forthcoming of all presidents."

Bill Clinton's 2002 request and Sen. Clinton's confusing answer on the subject when asked about it at last week's debate, have fueled attacks from Clinton's Democratic and Republican opponents that the Former First Lady is, if not hiding something, not willing to completely disclose everything.

"We have just gone through one of the most secretive administrations in our history," said Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, during the recent Democratic debate "And not releasing, I think, these records -- at the same time, Hillary, that you're making the claim that this is the basis for your experience -- I think, is a problem."

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