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Waxman Notes: “Bribery” Rhymes with “Library”

Well, close enough for PhDs in Comparative Literature…

Man, Waxman must have been preoccupied with submitting his report on Pat Tillman’s death. He was about five hours behind the time when I predicted the letter in response to the Bush Library bribery story would be sent.

Dear Mr. Payne:

I am writing regarding a report that you solicited funds for the George W. Bush Presidential Library in return for access to senior U.S. foreign policy officials. This is a matter that the Oversight Committee will investigate.

According to the Times of London, you solicited funds for President Bush’s library from foreign interests. Specifically, you reportedly offered access to several senior U.S. government officials, including Vice President Cheney, in return for six-figure contributions to the library.

If true, this report raises serious concerns about the ways in which foreign interests might be secretly influencing our government through large donations to the library. Under current law, there are few restrictions on efforts to raise funds for presidential libraries. For example, there are no limits on how much can be raised for a single source, and there is no requirement that donations be disclosed publicly. As a result, a presidential library can solicit secret donations from companies and foreign interests that seek to surreptitiously influence government action. In order to prevent abuses of this kind, the House of Representatives passed legislation last year that requires disclosure of information about donors to presidential libraries.

To help the Committee understand your role in soliciting funds for the George W. Bush Presidential Library, please provide written answers in response to the following questions:

1. What is your affiliation with George W. Bush Presidential Library? Have you been authorized or asked to solicit funds for the library?

2. Have you ever solicited funds for the library from any individuals, governments, companies, or organizations?

3. If you have ever solicited funds for the library, please describe each solicitation, including the persons or organizations solicited and amounts requested and received, and describe whether you arranged or attempted to arrange any meetings for such persons or organizations with U.S. government officials.

In addition, please provide the Committee with copies of any documents relating to contributions to or solicitations of contributions to President Bush’s library.

Man oh man. If I were Payne, I wouldn’t go quail hunting with Dick Cheney any time soon, because he is just going to hate this.

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