Elsewhere online
August 13, 2015

Perks For Library of Congress' Top-Donor Group Draw Criticism

The Washington Post investigates the workings of the James Madison Council, an exclusive group of major donors intended to support the Library of Congress.

The invitation-only group, formed in 1990 by soon-to-retire Librarian of Congress James Billington, has raised millions of dollars. Yet, according to financial records, almost half of its members' recorded contributions have gone to pay for private parties, exhibition receptions, luxury travel, and employees and consultants.

The group's critics say the group is self-serving and does little to address the problems faced by the institution, and an open-government organization and a charity watchdog group both cite the Council's exclusivity and lack of transparency as problematic. With Mr. Billington's retirement, the group's future remains unclear.