With its dedication Thursday in Dallas, the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum joins an impressive collection of institutions that commemorate the nation's former commanders in chief. These libraries—now 13 in all—cost taxpayers $75 million to operate in the last fiscal year.
In the era of sequestration, almost all spending is under increased scrutiny, but of particular interest is the private financing that helps pay for these presidential libraries. (Learn More: What is Sequestration?)
They are built initially with private funds collected even while presidents are still in office. And some lawmakers have taken issue with the way that cash is raised, fearing special influence in the White House for those who open their checkbooks.
The presidential libraries are public-private hybrids designed to preserve the papers, and to some extent, burnish the reputations of all the presidents since Herbert Hoover.
After their privately financed construction, they are turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to be operated with a mix of private and public money. In the past year, nearly 2 million people visited these institutions.