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Who paid for Clinton's single wide library??


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23-Nov-2004, 03:22 AM #1
Who paid for Clinton's single wide library??
Saudis, Arabs Funneled Millions to President Clinton's Library
BY JOSH GERSTEIN - Staff Reporter of the Sun
November 22, 2004

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. - President Clinton's new $165 million library here was funded in part by gifts of $1 million or more each from the Saudi royal family and three Saudi businessmen.

The governments of Dubai, Kuwait, and Qatar and the deputy prime minister of Lebanon all also appear to have donated $1 million or more for the archive and museum that opened last week.

Democrats spent much of the presidential campaign this year accusing President Bush of improperly close ties to Saudi Arabia. The case was made in Michael Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11," in a bestselling book by Craig Unger titled "House of Bush, House of Saud," and by the Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Kerry."This administration delayed pressuring the Saudis," Mr. Kerry said on October 20. "I will insist that the Saudis crack down on charities that funnel funds to terrorists... and on anti-American and anti-Israel hate speech."The Media Fund, a Democratic group whose president is a former Clinton White House aide, Harold Ickes, spent millions airing television commercials in swing states with scripts such as, "The Saudi royal family...wealthy...powerful...corrupt. And close Bush family friends."

Perhaps as a result, the Saudi donations to the Clinton library are raising some eyebrows. Mr. Unger said he suspects that the Saudi support may have something to do with a possible presidential bid by Senator Clinton in 2008.

"They want to keep their options open no matter who's in power and whether that's four years from now or whatever," the author said. "Just a few million is nothing to them to keep their options open."

The chief financial officer for the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation, Andrew Kessel, said that the vast majority of the roughly 113,000 donors to the foundation are ordinary Americans who made small gifts.

"We have 91,000 who gave $100 or less," he said in an interview Friday. "It's not all Saudi princes."

Information about the donors is available to the public on a single touch-screen computer mounted on a wall on the third floor of the recently opened library. Eventually, most who have contributed $100,000 or more will be listed on a wall in the museum's lobby, Mr. Kessel said.

However, some donors have asked that their names not be released. "We don't have many," Mr. Kessel said, adding, "It doesn't involve anyone controversial."

The computer lists donors by categories that correspond to the size of the gift. But there are no dollar figures provided for each of the funding levels.

Asked why the donor categories were not publicly defined, Mr. Kessel said,"It was a decision we made.We really don't need to at this point."

As a charitable organization, the Clinton Foundation is not required to make the names of its donors or the amounts of their gifts public. However, some of the other foundations that contributed to the library have disclosed their gifts on financial reports that are available from the Internal Revenue Service. By comparing those reports with the donor categories on the third-floor computer screen in the library, The New York Sun was able to match donor categories with approximate dollar amounts.

The highest tier,"Trustees," includes donations from 57 individuals, couples, or other entities. IRS reports reviewed by the Sun show that the foundations at this level have generally given or pledged $1 million or more. The Wasserman Foundation of Los Angeles, founded by movie mogul Lew Wasserman, gave the Clinton library $3 million. The Roy and Christine Sturgis Charitable Trust pledged $4 million. The Anheuser-Busch Foundation has given $200,000 annually for the last several years as part of what appears to be a $1 million pledge.The Annenberg Foundation also gave $1 million.

The Saudi royal family and the governments of Dubai, Kuwait, and Qatar donated at this "Trustee" level, as did the governments of Brunei and Taiwan. Also listed as trustees are three Saudi businessmen - Abdullah Al-Dabbagh, Nasser Al-Rashid, and Walid Juffali.

Other notables at the "Trustee" level include the deputy prime minister of Lebanon, Issam Fares; Hollywood director Steven Spielberg and his wife, actress Kate Capshaw, and an heir to the Wal-Mart fortune, Alice Walton.

The next tier down is labeled "Philanthropists." A major New York labor organization, Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union, donated at this level, which appears to correspond to gifts of $500,000 to $1 million. Also donating in this range was the editor of the Las Vegas Sun, Brian Greenspun, who was one of Mr. Clinton's roommates at Yale.

On the level below that are the "Humanitarians." Based on benchmarks available from other sources, the "Humanitarians" seem to have given between $100,000 and $500,000. In their ranks are the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, as well as a Pakistani-American businessman from California, Farooq Bajwa. Several perennial Clinton donors are on this list, such as the Big Apple Supermarkets chief, John Catsimatidis, and a San Diego class action lawyer, William Lerach. The U.S.-Islamic World Conference gave at the Humanitarian level, as did several Jewish groups, the Jewish Communal Fund, the Jewish Community Foundation, and the University of Judaism, according to the information available on the computer screen in the Clinton Library here.

The most controversial known donation to Mr. Clinton's library is also recorded at this level: a gift from a Manhattan socialite and singer, Denise Rich. Ms. Rich gave the foundation $450,000 while her fugitive ex-husband, Marc Rich, was seeking a pardon on tax-evasion and racketeering charges. Mr. Clinton granted the pardon hours before he left office, triggering a federal criminal investigation, as well as congressional inquiries.

As a result of that flap, a House committee voted in 2001 to require public disclosure of all large donations to presidential libraries. But the legislation stalled.

Another confounding aspect of the donor list available at the Clinton library is that, in nearly every case, it lacks any information beyond the name of the individual or company who gave. There are no hometowns or addresses for the donors and only in rare instances is there mention of an employer. Campaign finance records generally include this data.

Many of the numerous $100 gifts were for the inscribed bricks, or "pavers," that surround fountains just in front of the building.The same computer that lists the major donors also shows the minor ones where to find their paver. As a result, lines at the sole terminal are sometimes long.

President George H.W. Bush's library, which opened in 1997 in College Station,Texas, also received significant financial support from overseas. The governments of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Japan each gave $1 million or more, while the People's Republic of China donated between $50,000 and $100,000.

The Chinese communist government may also have chipped in for Mr. Clinton's library. The Chinese Overseas Real Estate Development company gave at the $100,000 or higher level. So did the National Opera of Paris.

Fund-raising for the Clinton Library began in 1999, while Mr. Clinton was still in office. However, the fund-raising team reportedly refrained from soliciting gifts from foreigners or foreign governments until Mr. Clinton left the White House in January 2001. Aides to the former president said the donations support not only the library complex, but also the foundation's other work, such as distributing AIDS drugs abroad and shoring up small businesses in Harlem.

Mr. Unger, who wrote "House of Bush, House of Saud," said he thinks the gifts to Mr. Clinton's library pale in comparison to business deals that Mr. Bush's family has done with the Saudis. The author said the gifts to ex-presidents are designed to encourage a pro-Saudi attitude on the part of present or future occupants of the White House. "It would be surprising if they didn't give," Mr. Unger said."The Saudis have given to every presidential library for the last 30 years, Republican and Democrat."

A Washington Post editorial on Thursday decried the lack of disclosure of the Clinton Library's funders, calling it "outrageous." Said the editorial,"the presidential libraries, though built and endowed with private funds, are public property, run by the National Archives. The public has a right to know who's underwriting them."
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23-Nov-2004, 03:39 AM #2
1/10th of our nation is funded by Saudis, so I'm not surprised Guess bush is finally in good company Besides... $1 million dollars is chicken feed to them, if you pardon the expression
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23-Nov-2004, 07:46 AM #3
So I'm supposed to be infuriated by this. What is the point?
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23-Nov-2004, 07:58 AM #4
This will be interesting to read the responses...after Bush was demonized for the association with the Saudi's...especially after F-911.
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23-Nov-2004, 09:03 AM #5
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23-Nov-2004, 09:04 AM #6
Sorry about this one Lan.
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23-Nov-2004, 09:10 AM #7
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23-Nov-2004, 09:48 AM #8
if i'm not mistaken, doesn't this all point back to the way politics currently works in this country? dunno if its red or blue that is to blame, so long as both allow lobbists, here and abroad, to influence decisions for the folks WE put in positions of trust.
"When we face the empire, we face ourselves...
to survive, it is imperative that we cease to lie to ourselves about our condition."
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23-Nov-2004, 09:49 AM #9
I believe it's called the Clinton Lie-brary!!
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23-Nov-2004, 09:56 AM #10
dang it!!! (thumbing forehead with the butt of my palm) i forgot
lobbying is a GOOD thing when it influences the vote of someone you's only a bad thing when it goes the other way.....

my deepest apologies.....carry on
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