Share

Obama's presidential library raises $1.75m, has $498.25m to go

By |
Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Books,Barack Obama,Campaign Finance,2014 Elections

The nation's fundraiser-in-chief has so far collected just $1.75 million of the minimum $500 million needed to fund construction of his presidential library, according to a tiny list of donations published on the Barack Obama Foundation website.

While there are no worries he will succeed in his fundraising goal, the humble start could be a sign of the struggle his team is facing when competing for donors already being pressed to contribute to the 2014 midterm elections and awaiting Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

Fundraising for the Barack Obama Presidential Library has already suffered a funding setback, when the Illinois legislature withdrew a Democratic plan to cough up $100 million for the president's project. The move was tabled after Republicans said Democrats, resorting to “Chicago-style” politics, tried to push the measure through unfairly.

The budget for the library, expected to be in Chicago or Obama's home state of Hawaii, is about $500 million, but that could grow.

For comparison, former President George W. Bush expected to raise and spend $300 million on his library, but collected over $500 million. Supporters note that the Obama foundation is just seven months old and beginning the fundraising process for the library that probably won't open until 2020.

Presidential libraries are constructed with private money, then handed over to the federal government to operate.

Obama is expected to step up fundraising for his library after the midterm elections.

His foundation's website listed three contributors in the range of $250,001 to $500,000 and one in the $100,001 to $250,000 range.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.