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Anthony Clark is a former speechwriter, committee professional staffer, and legislative director in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he directed hearings and investigations for the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform. He writes about presidential legacy and Congress, and has had bylines at Salon, Politico, Time, and History News Network. He appears regularly in the media as an expert on federal and presidential records and libraries. Born and raised on Long Island, New York, Anthony earned a Master of Science in Management and Systems from New York University, and worked for eighteen years as an information technology consultant and educator. He now lives in Southern Maryland, where he enjoys the outdoors but misses bagels and pizza.

Among other topics, Anthony planned and wrote hearings on the management of federal electronic records, including personal vs. official email; the National Archives’ (NARA) use of federal advisory committees; the loss of veterans’ electronic records; stakeholders’ views on selecting the next archivist of the United States; the participation of hard to count communities in the 2010 Census; NARA’s ability to safeguard electronic records; the Freedom of Information Act; NARA’s decision to emphasize museum exhibits over records processing; federal Web 2.0 technology; counting people living in group quarters during the 2010 Census; the reauthorization of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission; and public, open access to federally-funded research. 

Anthony is available for comment on former presidents and their legacies; the planned Obama Library in Chicago; presidential foundations; administration of the Presidential Records Act, the Presidential Libraries Act, and the Freedom of Information Act; federal records (including electronic); and the National Archives and Records Administration.
Brian Lamb/C-SPAN: Q&A
Washington Journal/C-SPAN: Your Money
Book Talk/C-SPAN: The Last Campaign
Chicago Tonight/WTTW: What’s the Purpose of Presidential Libraries?
WTTW: Obama Presidential Library
Ward Room/5 NBC Chicago: What to Expect From Presidential Library in Chicago   
5 NBC Chicago: Obama’s Library: Experts Debate How Much Economic Boost Chicago Can Expect   
WLS-TV/ABC7: Obama Library Location to be Announced Tuesday   
Politics Tonight/WGN-TV: Obama Library Coming to Chicago
Politics Tonight/WGN-TV: Building Presidential Libraries and Legacies   
WGN-TV: Political Legacies In Chicago & Beyond   
Fox32-TV: Chicago City Council passes Obama library ordinance 
WBEZ: Library land for the Obama Presidential Archives   
WBEZ/Morning Shift: Obama Library Reaction   
WBEZ/Morning Shift: New book digs into impact of Presidential legacy   
WBEZ Morning Shift: The Economic Impact of Presidential Libraries   
WNYC/NPR: EXTRA! EXTRA! Teddy Roosevelt Goes Digital!   
WBUR/RadioBoston: After Foundation CEO Resignation, What’s Next For The JFK Library?   
KCRW/Which Way LA?: Conflict over the Nixon Presidential Library   
WILL/Illinois Public Media: What’s the Point of Presidential Libraries?   
Marketplace/American Public Media: Do presidential libraries really pay off for cities?   
WGN-Radio: Anthony Clark Breaks Down the Problem with Presidential Libraries   
Federal News Radio 1500 AM: In Depth with Francis Rose   
Fox News Radio: A Few Moments With: Anthony Clark   
The Soul of Enterprise/VoiceAmerica: Interview with Anthony Clark   
TheCommentary.ca: Anthony J. Clark
The Baffler: There Goes the Neighborhood   
PolitiFact: Did the Clinton Foundation go ‘above and beyond’ in transparency?   
Yahoo! Politics: Hillary Clinton vs the record-keepers   
Christian Science Monitor: Obama library in Chicago: What it means for city’s South Side – and Obamas   
New York Magazine: The Alarming Math Behind Barack Obama’s Library   
Reuters: Final proposals submitted for Obama presidential library   
The Chicago Reader: What’s Wrong with Presidential Libraries?
Chicago Tribune: Fundraising ability key to winning Obama library
Chicago Tribune: Ford museum face-lift signals Obama Library will be ongoing project
Chicago Tribune: Should UIC, U of Hawaii Stay in Race for Obama Library?
Crane’s Chicago Business: UIC’s Blue-Collar Pitch for Obama Library
USA TODAY: Trump’s election has changed Obama’s post-presidency plans
Voice of America: Obama Presidential Center Begins to Take Shape
Chronicle of Higher Education: New Director Takes Over at Nixon Library
AllGov.com: Nixon Library Hires Director with No Library Experience
Washington Examiner: Library drama complicates Obama’s Chicago legacy
Pacific Standard magazine: Nixon’s Presidential Library: The Last Battle of Watergate
Honolulu Star-Advertiser: Maybe Obama Library here not such good idea after all
Blytheville (AR) Courier-News: A New Reason to Visit Dallas
The Airspace: Why Aren’t Presidential Libraries Better?
The Mineola American: Kick-Started
The Mineola American:Mineola Native Reaches Kickstarter Goal
Mineola Patch: Mineola Native “Kickstarting” Book on Presidential Libraries
Roll Call: Archivist Gadfly Aims to Keep Ex-Presidents Honest
Orange County Register: Nixon library chief greeted with relief, dismay
The Globe and Mail (Canada): Obama ready to say farewell to the White House, but not to his legacy
La Tercera (Chile): El contradictorio legado que deja Barack Obama
La Nación (Argentina): La vida después de la Casa Blanca: qué hacen los presidentes de EE.UU. cuando dejan el poder
BBC Brasil: A biblioteca de meio bilhão de dólares que cuidará do legado de Obama
Agence France-Presse: Obamas pick presidential library site in Chicago: source
Lettera43 (Italy) : Stati Uniti, scontro sull’eredità politica di Obama
Centre for Imperial and Global History/University of Exeter (UK): The Untold History of Presidential Libraries
The Last Word/MSNBC: Rewriting the Ridiculousness of Presidential Libraries


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Last week, Barack Obama unveiled the plans for his presidential center, to be built in the historic Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago. Architects, city planners, educators, community organizers, activists, pundits, boosters and critics all have weighed in on the look and on the plans. But if you blinked, you might have missed something important: Obama will not follow the example of his 13 immediate predecessors. He will forgo the creation of a traditional presidential library and museum.

The National Archives and Records Administration—which operates presidential library-museums for every president from Herbert Hoover through George W. Bush—won’t be operating either for Obama. His private Obama Foundation, not the government, will own and operate the museum. And there really won’t be a presidential library. The Obama Foundation will pay for NARA to digitize unclassified records and release them to the public as they become available, but the center’s “Library,” which may or may not house a local branch of the Chicago Public Library, will not contain or control presidential papers and artifacts, digital or otherwise. Instead, according to a NARA press release that called the museum “a new model for the preservation and accessibility of presidential records,” those records will be stored in “existing NARA facilities”—meaning one or more of the agency’s research or records centers across the country.

TIME, JANUARY 13, 2015

Mark Updegrove, the federal director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library & Museum in Austin, Texas, is one of the instigators of the current backlash against Selma, the widely-praised film that depicts a crucial series of events in the Civil Rights Movement. Leaving others to engage in the historical debate about the film’s portrayal of LBJ, I would like instead to examine the campaign to discredit the film based on that portrayal. Waged by those intent on protecting and promoting Lyndon Johnson’s image, the efforts are part of a larger trend to use presidential libraries in ways far outside their initial objectives and Congressional intent, and to hire “legacy managers” rather than credentialed archivists and historians to run them.

An insistence that LBJ was so central to the movement that this film “bastardizes” it conveniently ignores his earlier role in successfully blocking civil rights legislation as Senate Majority Leader – a neat trick replicated in the recently-renovated LBJ Library museum. There, in exhibits depicting his pre-presidential career, Vietnam, foreign affairs, domestic programs, and the Civil Rights Movement, the narrative is clean, simple, and undeviating: Lyndon Baines Johnson Was A Great Man Who Did Nothing Other Than Great Things And Only For Great Reasons.


Conventional wisdom says that the higher the number of co-sponsors, the greater the chance a bill has of becoming law – and that a bill with a low number of co-sponsors is doomed. These are both wrong. My review of recent Congresses demonstrates that co-sponsorship is not a reliable indicator of a bill’s legislative success. While there may be non-legislative (read: political) reasons for co-sponsoring legislation, the effort spent on adding names to a bill in order to get it passed into law is wasted.

That's because co-sponsoring bills is legislatively ineffective. An inordinate amount of time, money and effort is expended on something that is almost certain to fail. And yet, the custom plays out session after session, because, obviously, the participants find something worthwhile in it. After all that work and expense, however, what they don’t find is their bills getting passed into law.