The Obama Presidential Library

The presidential library concept we have today began with FDR, who in 1939 donated his papers to the federal government in the belief that such documents were an important part of the national heritage and should be made available to the public. 

Congress formalized matters in 1955 by enacting the Presidential Libraries Act (PLA) (P.L. 84-373) [1], which President Eisenhower signed on 12 August 1955, whereby:

(1)(e) The Administrator [of the General Services Administration] is authorized, whenever he deems it in the public interest, to accept for deposit-

(1)(e)(1) the papers or other historical materials of any President or former President of the United States, or of any other official or former official of the Government, and other papers relating to and contemporary with any President or former President of the United States, subject to restrictions agreeable to the Administrator as to their use. (italics mine)

(2)(f) The Administrator is authorized, whenever he deems it to be in the public interest-

(2)(f)(1) to accept, for and in the name of the United States, any land, buildings, and equipment for the purposes of creating a Presidential archival repository ...

(3)(h)(1) The term 'Presidential archival depository' means an institution operated by the United States to house and preserve the papers and books of a President or former President of the United States together with other historical materials belonging to a President or former President of the United States, or related to his papers or to events of his official or personal life. (italics mine)

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) currently administers a nationwide network of 13 libraries that contain papers, records, collections, and other historical materials of every president of the United States since Herbert Hoover.

There are an additional six presidential libraries not part of the NARA system, housing materials related to the presidencies of John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Rutherford B. Hayes, William McKinley, Woodrow Wilson, and Calvin Coolidge[2].

Obama Presidential Library Location

President Obama has stated that Hawaii is the state of his birth.  He began political life in Illinois, so there are two options for locating his library.  Both are consistent with tradition.  Choosing Hawaii, however, would render the library virtually inaccessible except online, making visits expensive and difficult for researchers, historians, and visitors alike.  Real estate values being high in Chicago, the costs of acquiring land and erecting a building are expected to be considerable, but they cannot be charged to the taxpayer by law.  To reduce the cost of operating presidential libraries, PLA was revised in 1986 (P.L. 99-323).

Presidential Library Materials Acquisition

Section (1)(e)(1) seems to imply -- read only the italics -- that the GSA Administrator (GSAA) is authorized to accept for inclusion in a presidential library materials provided both by a president and by ordinary citizens.  If this is correct, then Section (3)(h)(1) would imply that the GSAA is authorized to accept for inclusion in a presidential library also materials related to a president's personal life provided by ordinary citizens.  

Presidential Library Information Integrity

A careful reading of the PLA -- it is only 2.5 pages long -- will show that the document contains no language whatever authorizing (let alone requiring) the GSAA to verify that the materials presented for inclusion in a presidential library are accurate or genuine. 

This is not surprising.  Back in 1955, it would never have occurred to anyone that a president would include in his library materials that might be inauthentic or false.  Had Congress dared to insert a "truth clause" into the PLA, vice president Nixon would not have signed the law -- he and Speaker of the House Rayburn were co-signatories of the PLA -- knowing that President Eisenhower would have construed such a clause as an insult, as casting doubt on his honesty and integrity.

We are facing a vastly different situation today.  President Obama has consistently refused to answer an unusually large number of questions about his past, leaving the nation in the dark about facts the electorate is entitled to know.  Just as appalling has been the behavior of the liberal media, which has let Obama get away with it while piling scorn and ridicule on anyone trying to get at the truth. 

What started out as fawning coverage when Senator Obama was the Democratic candidate for president has grown into a personality cult around President Obama.  Once the GOP picks a standard-bearer, we can expect the liberal media to resume the sort of attacks against the candidate America witnessed against President Bush for eight years, accompanied by "investigative reporting" and a Palin-modeled hatchet job.

Omissions from the Obama Presidential Library

While there is precedent for deliberate omissions from a presidential library that represent inconvenient truths -- references to their many sexual indiscretions while in office are absent from the Kennedy and Clinton libraries -- Team Obama will make sure that only material portraying our nation's first African-American president in the most favorable, glowing light will be included.  The Obama Presidential Library (OPL) will be a propaganda exercise of massive proportions worthy of anything the Nazis or the Soviets could have dreamed up -- unless something is done to stop it.

We will not see the items below in the OPL -- an admittedly incomplete list that will be much longer by the time Obama exits in 2017, if he's re-elected in the fall[3].

  1. A certified copy of Obama's long-form birth certificate.
  2. A 2004 article from the Sunday Standard in Kenya referring to Obama as "Kenyan-born."
  3. A statement by Obama's grandmother Sarah that he was born in Kenya.
  4. Testimony from a Kenyan Anabaptist minister that a Kenyan civil registrar affirmed Obama's birth at Coast Providence Hospital in Mombasa, Kenya.
  5. An article in the January 8, 2006, Honolulu Advertiser stating that Obama was "born outside the country."
  6. A 2008 radio interview with Peter Ogego, Kenya's ambassador to the U.S., affirming Obama's birth in Kenya.
  7. Statements by Michelle Obama describing her husband as "Kenyan" and Kenya as his "home country," along with an explanation of what she meant.
  8. A 2008 National Public Radio report describing then-senator Obama as "Kenyan-born" and "son of Africa."
  9. Conflicting reports in the mainstream press that Obama was born at the Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu, as well as the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children.
  10. Evidence that the "Obama for America" PAC has paid since October 2008 a reported $2.7 million (and counting) to the Perkins Coie law firm to fight requests to release Obama's original birth records.
  11. Letters from Perkins Coie threatening plaintiffs with financial sanctions if they failed to abandon lawsuits seeking release of Obama's original birth records.  
  12. Evidence of foreign contributions to the 2008 Obama presidential campaign.
  13. Complete list of contributors to the 2012 Obama presidential campaign.
  14. Connection to fundraiser Tony Rezko, who helped facilitate Obama's purchase of a $1.65 million mansion in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood for $300,000 below the asking price.
  15. Evidence that ACORN was a legal client of Obama, on whose behalf he filed a law suit after former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar refused to implement the federal "Motor Voter" law, which Republicans argued could invite fraud.
  16. Involvement with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  17. Involvement in loans to Solyndra, Beacon Powers, and NextEra Energies.
  18. Complete set of Department of Justice files on "Operation Fast and Furious."
  19. Occidental College, Columbia University and Harvard Law School transcripts.
  20. The Columbia University yearbook with photos of, or information about, all 1983 graduates, showing that Obama is not in the yearbook.
  21. A photo of the 1983 Columbia University Black Students Organization.  Obama is not in the photo despite claiming to have been involved with the organization.
  22. Recollections by people who knew him at these schools, students or faculty.
  23. Illinois bar records and law practice client list.
  24. Articles in the Harvard Law Review -- he published none.
  25. Explanation how Obama was selected HLR editor at the end of his first year in 1989 and HLR president in 1990.
  26. Recollections of students who took his classes at the University of Chicago Law School.
  27. Obama's University of Chicago scholarly articles -- there are none.
  28. Obama's employment record after graduating from Columbia University with the Business International Corporation (BIC), proving he embellished his resume.
  29. Explanation why Obama has used five different legal names: Barack Hussein Obama, Barry Soetoro, Barry Obama, Barack Dunham, and Barry Dunham.
  30. Medical records.  (Compare Obama's refusal to allow access to these data with the opposite attitude of Truman.  At, the reader will find in the World War I file results of a 1917 physical examination conducted while Truman was in the Missouri National Guard, which describes his uncorrected 20/400 left-eye vision as "Blind" -- really!) 
  31. The truth about Obama's relationship with Communist Party USA member Frank Marshall Davis and '60-'70s terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn.
  32. Evidence Obama worked for Ayres' Chicago Annenberg Challenge.
  33. The truth about Obama's long-standing relationship with Reverend Wright.
  34. Photographs of Obama bowing to the Emperor of Japan and the King of Saudi Arabia.
  35. Details of Obama trips to Indonesia and Pakistan in 1981; specifically, who paid for the latter trip at a time when Obama allegedly lived in poverty.
  36. Obama's unsanitized passport file.
  37. The fact that the Illinois New Party, a Marxist coalition, endorsed Obama in his run for the Illinois state senate in 1996.
  38. Obama's Illinois state senate calendar and schedule.
  39. Obama's Illinois state senate voting record.
  40. Obama's voting record in the U.S. Senate showing how many times he voted "present."

What Can Be Done?

  • Congress should update the PLA to prevent future repositories from becoming mere propaganda vehicles, which would be a violation of FDR's original concept of a presidential library as an important part of the national heritage.
  • Congress should create a bipartisan Office of Vetting Presidential Library Materials to check the authenticity of materials future presidents plan to turn over to the GSAA for inclusion in their presidential library.
  • The updated PLA should contain a clause explicitly granting citizens the right to provide to the GSAA materials for inclusion in a future presidential library, which is only fitting in a democracy to ensure a complete and correct record.


[1] This document is available upon request from the National Archives and Records Administration.


[2] Details may be found in "The Presidential Libraries Act and the Establishment of Presidential Libraries" a 27-page article by Wendy R. Ginsberg and Erika K. Lunder, Congressional Research Service 7-5700,, R41513, December 1, 2010.

[3] This list relies on information in The Secret Life of Barack Hussein Obama by Mondo Frazier, New York: Simon and Schuster, 2011.