Letter From FDR Library to OWL

By Cynthia M. Koch | July 7, 2008 | 8:31 PM EDT

Franklin D. Roosevelt Library
4079 Albany Post Road
Hyde Park, NY 12538
March 31, 2005

Laurie Young, Executive Director
Older Women's League

Dear Ms. Young,

To follow up on my messages left with your secretary and on your voice mail this morning, I must ask that you provide at least one speaker at your Social Security forum planned for April 9th in the Wallace Center who will give a presentation on the features and merits of President Bush's proposed changes to Social Security. This request was forwarded to event planners last week by Lynn Bassanese, our director of public programs, after we at the Library learned that the forum, as planned, did not present both sides of the issue.

Federal regulations expressly forbid the use of National Archives (or other federal) facilities for activities that may be perceived as being partisan in nature because of the activities' subject matter, sponsors or participants. Changes to the Social Security system are now the President's highest priority on his domestic agenda in Congress; therefore, in order to be in compliance with the Hatch Act, I must require you to present a program that is balanced in presenting both sides of the Social Security debate.

When your event was reserved in the Wallace Center it was clearly understood by OWL that it could not be political in nature. What may not have been political in nature at the time of the booking is certainly political now.

If you cannot provide at least one speaker who will speak on the features and merits of the Administration's plan for Social Security, then I must ask that you find another venue for your program. This message was communicated to program planners last week, but no speaker(s) representing the President's plan have been added to the program.

Therefore, it is with great regret that I must ask that you find another venue for your forum on Social Security. The Wallace Center will not be available for your use for the program you have planned.

If you are able to make the required changes to your program, we would certainly be happy to make the facility available to your group.