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April 23, 2013

White House refuses to say if Obama still supports disclosing library donors

White House spokesman Jay Carney rarely misses an opportunity to describe President Barack Obama's administration as the most transparent in history.

But on Tuesday, in response to a question from McClatchy, Carney refused to say whether Obama would support a bill requiring organizations that collect money for presidential libraries to disclose its donors.

"I'm not even aware of the legislation," Carney said twice.

But as a senator and a candidate for president, Obama backed the disclosure of contributions by presidential foundatioms.

"I think it's important not only that all this information is disclosed, but I also think that we need to have a situation in which we are disclosing the funneling of large donors," Obama said at a debate.

It's unclear what changed. 

Several government watchdob groups have praised Obama for some open government policies, but others have criticized him.

Most recently, Obama was chastized for failing to release identifying information about donors to his inaugural festivities, even though he did in 2009, and for collecting corporate donations for his new political organization, Organizing for Action. (OFA reversed course after weeks of criticism).

The George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University opens this week

Already, the University of Hawaii, where Obama's parents went to school, and the University of Chicago, where Obama taught for a dozen years, are vying for to house his library.

Carney said Obama is not focused on the library, but rather the "work that he's doing now in office to try to advance the priorities that he laid out in the campaign last year and laid out in the State of the Union address and in his inaugural address."

"He has a broad agenda that he's working on," he said. "He's not focused on his life after the presidency."

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