Bush library donors could remain anonymous
Todd J. Gillman
The Dallas Morning News
January 25, 2007
WASHINGTON – The big names on campus – all thanks to big dollars – are emblazoned across SMU: the Meadows Museum, Cox School of Business, Moody Coliseum, Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Bob Hope Theater.
There’s even the Laura Bush Promenade – a walkway financed by a $250,000 gift eight years ago from George W. Bush to his wife’s alma mater.
Colleges routinely offer naming rights to encourage donors. But public recognition is voluntary. Private schools don’t have to identify financial supporters, and neither do presidential libraries, such as the one Mr. Bush may place at Southern Methodist University.
Watchdog groups have warned of potential abuse when presidents building endowments for their libraries are allowed to accept unlimited, anonymous gifts from corporations, federal contractors, even foreign governments. Seeking more openness, the Senate last week voted to require disclosure of donations of $200 or more to presidential libraries or inaugural committees – but only from registered lobbyists.