Obama supporters begin to plan his presidential library


McClatchy Washington Bureau

Several friends and supporters of President Barack Obama announced Friday that they have launched a foundation that will oversee the planning of his presidential library that will house his records and artifacts.

The leaders of Barack H. Obama Foundation -- longtime friend Marty Nesbitt, former campaign fundraiser Julianna Smoot and businessman J. Kevin Poorman -- hope to select a site for the future library by early 2015.

"The president's future library will one day serve as an important part of our nation's historical record, and our mission is to build a library that tells President Obama's remarkable story in an interactive way that will inspire future generations to become involved in public service," Nesbitt said.

Hawaii, Obama's birthplace, and Illinois, his longtime home, have already begun lobbying to house the library. New York, where Obama went to college, has expressed interest as well.

Both Nesbitt and Poorman are based in Chicago, fuel speculation that Illinois may be the site of the library.

"I also look forward to working with the many organizations across the nation that have expressed interest in becoming home to the future Barack H. Obama Presidential Library," Poorman said.

In a statement, the foundation says it will plan a library that reflects Obama's values and priorities throughout his career in public service -- expanding economic opportunity, inspiring an ethic of American citizenship, and promoting peace, justice and dignity throughout the world -- while it becomes an anchor for economic development.

"The breadth of interest in hosting the president's future library has already exceeded expectations, and that is a testament to how deeply his values and priorities have resonated with Americans, and how widely his career in public service has impacted communities across the nation," Smoot said.

In February, the foundation will solicit interest in sites. In May, it will issue request to the most competitive entities, requesting comprehensive proposals for evaluation.

The foundation will operate as a section 501(c)(3) organization, making it eligible to accept tax-deductible contributions for its educational and charitable purposes. It will disclose all donors and donations over $200 on a quarterly basis.

For the remainder of Obama's term, it will follow donation guidelines in line with those adopted by the president for his campaigns, including no support from foreign nationals, currently registered federal lobbyists or foreign agents.

Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and White House staff will not participate in fundraising efforts during the remainder of the president's term.

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