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tv   Washington Journal Anthony Clark Discusses Presidential Library Funding  CSPAN  June 5, 2017 1:31pm-2:01pm EDT

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banking committee to confirm kevin hassett. live coverage of former fbi director james comey testifying thursday before the senate ,ntelligence committee investigating russian activity during last years election starting at 10:00 a.m. eastern thursday followed by your calls and social media can also find that online to watch it streaming at or listen live on the c-span radio app. at 2:00e coverage eastern time today on climate change and the national security implications. a form coming less than a week after president trump decision to withdraw the u.s. from the paris climate agreement. before that begins, we will take a look at some of today's washington journal on funding for presidential libraries. each week, we take a look at how your money is at work in a different federal program. this week we are focusing on
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presidential libraries and the taxpayer dollars that go into partially funded presidential libraries. we're joined by the author of the book, the last campaign, how presidents rewrite history. intolark, how did you get this particular area of study? [video clip] i read a lot of stuff about guest: presidential libraries that was wrong. i started looking into it and i was in a masters program for political science and i wrote a paper about how presidential libraries are the last campaign. we had seen a video during the class of bill clinton's last rally in 1996. he said this is my last campaign. just like your president sensors, you will build a library. i wrote the paper and the professor said this could be a book.
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went to thek, i other presidential library's i had not visited. you worked on some of these issues on capitol hill? guest: [video clip] guest: guest: i was told that the records of presidential libraries were not available to me. it was a two-year freedom of information act at which i got 750,000 pages after that. it came to the attention of the committee that oversees this. host: anthony clark is with us for the next 40 minutes or so. $100 million taxpayers are on the hook for, for presidential libraries, why that amount,
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where does that go? guest: it goes to preserving and making presidential libraries available. from ronald reagan on, it will take 100 years for records to be made available to the public. the president leaves office in four years on average after he leaves, he opens presidential library. his version of history gets told right away. what happened, what journalists and historians and the public want to see, that doesn't get told for decades. host: currently 14 presidential libraries under operation by the national archives, built by private money and donated to the government. explain that process of building these libraries and how they become under the control of the if the government? guest: while the president is in office, the president opens up a foundation to receive donations and it can be private money, state and local money, it just can't be federal dollars. up until george w. bush the presidents created a foundation, built a library and somehow made arrangements with the archive to take over the operation of the library. president obama made significant
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change by not donating his presidential library to the archive and presidential archives will not be at his presidential library. that begs the question, will it be a presidential library. host: why would he do that? it could be a good move for presidential libraries. guest: i think it could be, depends how much you want to get into the weeds. the archives is charged with preserving the record and making them available. and making them available to anyone but they are charged with maintaining the president's legacy, boosters are not going to spend money creating an exhibit to show how bad the president was. it is boosterism, rewritten history. but the archives has to maintain it, welcome people and has seal of the government on it. it puts the archive necessary an awkward position. one being nonpartisan agency and the other being partisan partner with the foundation. so the obama presidential center won't have presidential records, the museum won't be run by the organization that runs privately. that separates them enough to
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limit the conflict of interest. host: the $100 million going to presidential libraries, none will be going to the obama library? guest: as far as we know. they haven't done a lot of detailed analysis yet. it looks like the museum the national archive won't spend money on museums. right now the money goes to archivists and communication professionals, museum curators, exhibit specialists, educational specialists. there is a lot of money being spent on promoting legacy and he not a lot on records. host: have you visited the presidential library? do you have questions about how they are run or are funded? now is the time to call, anthony clark, "the last campaign," author. phone lines, democrats, 202-748-8000. republicans, 202-748-8001. and independents, 202-748-8002.
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presidential libraries have come a long way since franklin roosevelt's library. our c-span local content vehicle had a chance recently to head out to the franklin roosevelt library and heard from the library's curator about the development of that presidential library. >> the library was the first presidential library created and operated by the national archive and records administration, the library was established by president franklin roosevelt, he was looking for a way to preserve the paper of administration and his personal papers. it was established in 1941. and so he created a library on the grounds of his estate in high park, new york. -- in hyde park, new york. he basically, what he decided to do was raise private money to build the library and then he gave it to the government to be operated by the national archive. that model was followed by subsequent presidents. host: anthony clark, can you
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talk about the subsequent presidents and their view of their library and how it changed from that time of franklin roosevelt to today? guest: harry truman didn't want a museum about him, he wanted a museum about the presidency, he wanted replica of the oval office and exhibit called a day in the life of the president and dwight eisenhower had a museum before he came president at his boyhood home in kansas. lyndon johnson built his behemoth on the campus of the university of texas at austin. it was an-eight story building, dramatic and really the first of the mega-presidential libraries. after that, everyone wanted to copy that in terms of the effects and legacy. host: what does a presidential library cost these day? guest: about twice what the predecessor cost. reagan's cost 40 million. george w. bush about 87 million. bill clinton $167 million. george w. bush $320 million.
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the estimate is between $500 million and $1.5 billion for president obama, it doesn't take into fact he doesn't have to provide an endowment. congress saw presidential libraries were getting more, they passed an act that said, if you give us a presidential library, have you to give us an endowment to defer the cost. that was raised to first 40 and then 60% f. $100 million, you give $60 million for the national archives. host: that is also the cost of the things you talked about running the paper or running the records, but some other communications issues, as well? guest: supposed to go to operation and maintenance of the building. we're spending 10 to 15 million a year on renovating what are now sometimes 40, 50, 60-year-old buildings. host: talking about anthony clark about it.
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now is the time to ask your questions or stories about visiting presidential library. robert is up next. -- roger is up first from virginia, line for republicans go ahead. , caller: my question is, if donald trump is impeached, does he still get a library? host: i think we lost roger. he was saying if donald trump is impeached, does he still get a library? guest: bill clinton was impeached and has a library. i think you can take your answer from that. host: chicago, illinois, line for independence go ahead. , caller: how is it going, i live in chicago, and i live in a part right where they are building the obama library. and, right where they are building the obama library, they are actually taking away a well-established field and a well-established program, where the obama library is going to be
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built. it's been promised to us they would be rebuilding a building and they are not. i voted for obama twice, got people up in the morning to vote for that man twice. i refuse to even go to the library because not only did he not do anything, he's coming back to the community and taking away from folks. they promised to rebuild that field. for me, it's gotten me upset. i've been a part of this program for 10 years, this program has been a part of the community for 20 years, more than 20 years. saving black lives. for me, it's gotten me upset. is refuse to believe that our community is the only community this happened. they pickd that very spot because they feel that spot is going to produce less community outrage or protest. i'm going to be on a personal mission to do a lot of protest because i'm very offended by the fact obama library with his name will be on it.
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and nothing will be done about it to replace what this has taken from the community, although he's done nothing when he was president. host: thank you for the call this morning. anthony clark on the building of the obama library. guest: communities can have significant on where library is built. kennedy library was not built where he wanted it to be because of community disapproval. it took 16 years. duke university rejected nixon library, stan ford university rejected reagan library. until the groundbreaking is done or the opening, the community still has a voice. host: twitter viewers with questions on the topic. steve wants to know, what is president permitted to keep private and what is he obligated to make public? on the same issue can you , specify the categories of archive documents that are not available to the public for 100 year? guest: it is not a question of the categories. first five years after a president leaves office, no records may be released so archives has a chance to get a handle on the records and
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process them. seven years after that, the president can provide a letter to the archivist before he leaves office that says specific types of records i'd like to keep for additional seven years, for total of 12 years being kept from being released. after 12 years are up, submit a freedom of information request and get the records. it is not a question of 100 year being a legislative limit tis because national archive doesn't spend enough money on hiring archivist and hiring museum curators and exhibit specialist and public affairs specialists, they don't have enough archivist to process the records. it could be 70, 80 million records. host: who do the archivists report to? guest: good question. they up until recently federal employee who ran the presidential library could serve as private employee who runs the presidential library foundation, that was one of the first thing
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i made the public aware about. this was a conflict of interest. the current archivist said you had to pick, become federal employee or private employee. host: can you give examples of the conflict of interest and how it played out in the library? guest: the reagan library, for example, had a director who, is director of the library, blackwood, serving as the executive director of the foundation. when there are questions about what the foundation will want from the archives, what kind of exhibit the archives would accept, what kind of language would be appropriate to describe things like iran contra, for example, iran contra was not mentioned in reagan library for first 19 years of existence, as if it didn't exist f. national archives had one federal employee working as archives director or library director and one private person, then they could advocate for their position. the archives wouldn't have the conflict of interest to say, i'm
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wear it would go hats and i'll -- i'm wearing two hats and i'll let the foundation do what it wants. host: talking about the funding and funding of presidential libraries, how much taxpayer money goes into the process. call with questions or thoughts and stories about visiting pres deshl libraries. -- presidential libraries. steve, ohio, go ahead. , line for independence. caller: yeah, hi. it has been widely reported that the inauguration of trump's inauguration was roughly about 100 to 110 million dollars. and given that the obama inauguration was three times the size and it cost $50 million, so whatever happened to the difference between 50 and 100 and 110 million dollars? guest: inauguration funding something cutalk about?
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-- something you can talk about? guest: i know that a lot of inauguration celebrations are privately funded. there is additional security. i'm not sure why there was significant increase. host: head out to kansas, mary lou, line for democrats, good morning. caller: good morning. host: go ahead, mary lou. caller: i just wanted to say that i have visited all of the presidential libraries that belong to the national archives, except for ford. it's been on my bucket list for a while. of course, being from kansas, the eisenhower one was the first i visited. there's several i'd like to go back to. i think it is a wonderful way to preserve the history of our country and i think it is a good use of our federal dollars. host: thank you. mary lou, before you go, what did you think about how the history was displayed there? did you think it was a fair reading of history at the libraries? did you find some more fair than others? caller: yes, i think some were
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more fair. i was a little disappointed with george w. bush. i thought it was -- i don't know, not as interesting as some of the others. host: what made others more interesting? caller: they all seem to have like a special exhibit. the one i really enjoyed, the special exhibit at the clinton library, when all of albright's pens were displayed. and also, the oklahoma bombing at clinton was very interesting. i also really enjoyed, of course i really like eisenhower's because i've been there more times and i've been interested in world war ii and a lot of eisenhower's talks about his war years, as well as presidential years.
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host: thank you for sharing your experience. anthony clark? guest: i've been choked up at most presidential libraries. harry truman's library has a letter he kept in his drawer for post-presidency, letter from father of a man killed in korea, sending back his letter. -- sending back is metal. it was angry letter. he said he wished margaret truman was a man so harry truman could understand what he went through in losing his son. he kept the letter in his desk drawer. it is part of the exhibit. when you see the original letter and hear the language of the letter and see harry truman didn't dismiss that, didn't think it was unimportant and kept as reminder of the responsibility of his office, that is overwhelming. there is some inspiring recross. it is great to see original artifacts when you can. my concern is really about two things, how much money we spend on promoting presidential legacy
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and not on getting records out and national archives takes responsibility for a partisan exhibit and events. host: tom, berkeley springs, west virginia. line for republicans. go ahead. caller: i have a question. the money that people donate to build these libraries and the money they donate to the endowments for the maintenance of them, are those contributions tax deductible? guest: they are. tax deductible to the private foundations, as well as for the endowment and the building of the library. host: do we know who donates the money to the foundation? guest: we don't. they are undisclosed. some foundations voluntarily disclose ranges, but no law. there is not only undisclosed, unlimited. a president can receive $50 million check, if you write in the memo line, for your presidential library, the public
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wouldn't know it and wouldn't know what was expected in return. host: is there a limit on the date you can start collecting check? guest: small limit about lobbyists, registered lobbyists and disclosing anything over $250. other than that -- host: so president trump could be collecting right now? guest: yes, and wouldn't know what is expected in return, not just for trump, all the presidents going back to franklin roosevelt. host: ned, go ahead. huntsville, alabama, line for democrats. caller: in his last year in the ofts, president johnson asked the secretary of all departments to write reports and these reports i'm sure are in the library. is that normal procedure for presidents to ask the secretaries to write reports why they are in the office? and second, how critical the reports would be.
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guest: reports on the activities of the johnson administration? caller: activities of the own department. guest: that is pretty common now. when i went to the clinton library, not much was open when i first started researching there. what was open was the exact reports written by each of the cabinet departments on their activity and accomplishments during the clinton administration. those would be a part of those presidential libraries. host: we have a library of congress that can preserve presidential papers, why do they need memorial libraries? guest: pretty excellent question. the obama presidential center will test that question by having the presidential records go to the national archives, not to the presidential center in chicago and the obama presidential foundation will operate the museum and legacy exhibits on their own. the library of congress does have presidential records up to
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1920s and the national archives has them from herbert hoover on. host: to virginia, mike, independent, go ahead. caller: i want to let you know, i really appreciate c-span and the conversation here. i saw all of the reagan and the nixon libraries out in southern california and both of them had interesting exhibits. the one at nixon's was his relationship with johnny cash, shown through photos and instruments and all kinds of stuff, that was the nixon library. the library had letters from -- the reagan library had letters from soldiers home, it was about bob hope and bob hope's performances to the troops around the world. both were good as far as illustrating different aspects of american society. i really think the museums, libraries are great. maybe your guest can help me with this one. i couldn't figure this out.
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at the reagan's, they were literally putting in an old air force one and i was just curious, how did something like that, do they buy that? i am curious. guest: yeah, about 13 years ago, the reagan library opened an addition to the building that includes the air force one that ronald reagan used and seven other presidents. it was 90,000 square feet. it is on long-term lease from the patterson air force base museum that has all the other aircraft, except that one. that room also has marine one helicopter and also has what i consider to be the most interesting and odd artifact in a presidential library n. 1984, the reagan's stopped by valley, ireland for a goodwill visit and had a drink at the o'farrell's pub. the reagan foundation bought the pub after it went under and they
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rebuilt it inside the air force one pavilion. and under glass like holy relic, there are glasses and bottles used for the reagan's visit. host: focusing on the reagan library. c-span visited many libraries over the years n. 1999, c-span had a chance to tour the reagan library with nancy reagan, here is a bit from the store. -- from that tour. >> people come to the library, is there one or two things they find to be their favorite? >> you would really have to ask them. i think there are always curious about the berlin wall. and they're -- the whole thing is so -- i mean, it's all here. everything in his life is here. it will be hard for me to say which one they would choose.
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>> over here is march 30, 1981. >> yeah. >> where were you when you heard the president had been shot? >> i was at a luncheon, an art gallery luncheon, and for some reason, this never happened to me before and god willing, won't happen to me again, but i suddenly had the feeling i had to go. and -- >> you mean just -- >> i don't know what it was, i just had the feeling i had to get back to the white house. host: if you want to watch that entire tour, you can see it all of our programming available at anthony clark, i know you want to talk a little about that.
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guest: there have been several times about the exhibit about the assassination over time. it is incredibly moving to be there and see the x-ray, see how close the president came to dying. and i just want to say the reagan library, contrast with the clinton library. reagan library has a lot of personal touches, his belt buckle collection, his cowboy hats, pictures of the reagan ranch. like i said, the bar. people really connect with the physicality of seeing things that he owned and touched and were part of him. the clinton library can't be different, more different, i mean. it is all about the facts of the administration, not about his life. you don't have exhibit about hope, arkansas, and i think it was because it was created in the wake of impeachment when character was an issue. rather than focus on the man, they focused on bill clinton, the president. host: do you think that will change in years to come?
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guest: i think so. the national archive said they help amealiorate the extreme parts of the exhibit over time. the problem is -- like for example, the nixon library, the original watergate exhibit written by nixon said watergate was plot to make carl albert president of the united states, the speaker of the house. that existed for 17 years. when national archives took over in 2007, first order of business for new federal director was to dismantle the watergate exhibit because it was inaccurate and they replace today with fundamentally accurate. that doesn't happen often. the johnson library did a renovation under the national archives and it became a lot more lauditory, downplayed a lot of negativity and if you don't know anything about johnson and go, you say, he did a great job in dealing with the '60s and vietnam and you walk out admiring him more than
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understanding what happened. host: yonkers, new york, rich, two republican, go ahead. caller: since you touched on the national archives many times, i believe i read that this year it's due to release many more records, maybe thousands or millions of records on the j.f.k. assassination. can you tell me if there is anything to that? i will hangup and listen. guest: that is correct. in the 1990s, there was a separate investigation into the assassination of both dr. martin luther king and president kennedy and assassination record review board identified a number of significant number of records that they felt were not available for release at the time, but they sat october of 2017 as the release date. now the government can still, the law still allows the government to review records and decide they still need to be
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kept secret for perhaps if they reveal sources and methods or intelligence gathering capabilities. we expect the bulk of the records will be released later this year. host: bill, independent, good morning. houston, missouri, good morning. bill, you with us? caller: yeah. host: go ahead, sir. caller: yeah. well, sitting here watching, it says the federal government is putting up $100 million, i want to know where the federal government has all the money stored because the money in the treasury belongs to the taxpayers. if they want presidential libraries, let them pay for it themselves. i don't figure my tax money ought to go for that. guest: good point, we've had debates in congress about how much money we should spend to preserve and make presidential records available. we make a deal with the president that the president can keep things secret while in office and once they leave office, we get to see what happens.
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i like to say presidential libraries are what people do to keep us from knowing what presidents do. the problem is we've never had debate about how much to spend on celebrating their life, on promoting legacy. not only that, earlier caller mentioned temporary exhibits, so the most popular temporary exhibit in any presidential library, hundreds of thousands of people was the reagan library, not on wit and wisdom of the great communicator and wasn't on the cold war, but the treasures of the walt disney vault. host: why was that brought into the regular library? guest: it was seen as a way to get people into the reagan library. it becomes an odd circular logic that says we need to bring them and so we can keep ringing them in. but less than half of the reagan library records are available and he's been out of office almost 30 years now. host:


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