FOX News Channel host Bill O'Reilly claimed that former President Bill Clinton's newly opened presidential library gives Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) "access to money because Bill Clinton's got a checkbook that he can write anything off against that library he wants." O'Reilly predicted Bill Clinton would use library staff and funds to further his wife's alleged presidential ambitions. In fact, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), a federal agency, took over the Clinton Presidential Center, including its management and funding, on the day the library opened. NARA administers all ten presidential libraries.
On the November 18 edition of FOX News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly and FOX News Channel political contributor Dick Morris, a former Clinton adviser, discussed the impact of the library on Senator Clinton's alleged presidential aspirations:
O'REILLY: But I think you might be underestimating the power of the actual operation there, $165 million, as we mentioned.
O'REILLY: This [library] gives Hillary Clinton researchers, speechwriters.
MORRIS: Which she used to get from the White House. Now she gets them there.
O'REILLY: Now she gets them there because they've a big staff, they've got a lot of money, they can hire a lot of people, and she's got access, not only access to brain power, but access to money because Bill Clinton's got a checkbook that he can write anything off against that library he wants. Is that right?
In fact, the $165 million to which O'Reilly refers was used to construct the library; the Associated Press reported on "the $165 million glass-and-steel home of artifacts and documents" in a November 18 article. The AP also noted that the library's opening ceremony would include "the official presentation of the library keys to the National Archives and Records Administration, which takes over management of the institution from Clinton's private foundation."
The New York Times reported on June 10 that most of the money to manage the Clinton library will come from the public, suggesting the library is not flush with additional funding:
Under a plan that the archives administration [NARA] turned over to Congressional leaders last month, the endowment for the $175 million Clinton library is $7.2 million. It would pay about $300,000 of what is expected to be more than $4 million in upkeep costs in its first year of operation, said another archive official, Sharon Fawcett, deputy assistant archivist for presidential libraries.
NARA's website explains that according to a 1986 law, presidential libraries must be maintained in part by endowments funded by private donations and in part by public money: "The Presidential Libraries Act of 1986 also made significant changes to Presidential libraries, requiring private endowments linked to the size of the facility. NARA uses these endowments to offset a portion of the maintenance costs for the library."