Fiasco at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation

Those responsible for this shocking lack of transparency and flagrant mismanagement of taxpayer funds should be held accountable – and the State of Illinois must act to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.

This year, the FY19 state budget allocates $11 million to operate the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM) in Springfield. The ALPLM Foundation, which operates nothing in the museum, siphons off bookstore profits and rental fees and sells unlimited admission with membership but doesn't share that with the taxpayer-funded museum.

The Foundation executive director quoted in the Washington Post article makes a salary of $240,000. Total compensation for the few Foundation employees that don't run anything in the museum is over $800,000. In a conflict of interest, the Foundation indebted themselves by making a loan agreement with a bank which two members of their board were affiliated with.  

The Foundation took in $3.2 million in 2016 according to their IRS 990 filing, yet the board can't manage to pay off its debt. On top of all that, $6.5 million of their debt is related to "Lincoln's" top hat which is more likely than not a fake - and the board refuses to have it DNA tested to confirm authenticity, likely in part because it was purchased from another board member.

I plan to introduce legislation mandating the Foundation make all financial records and meetings public information. Taxpayers have a right to know where their money is being spent.

For additional new articles covering this situation, please check out the following links:

Illinois Times – Leveraging Lincoln

If you and your family are as busy as mine this time of year, I will sign off for now. Look for another update from me in the coming weeks with details for my Town Hall Meeting in September and a preview of what to look for during the General Assembly’s Fall Veto Session in November.


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