Smithsonian Names New Chief for Troubled Business Ventures Unit

At a congressional oversight hearing on August 1, 2007, Acting Smithsonian Secretary Christian Samper announced the appointment of Tom Ott as acting chief executive officer (CEO) for the troubled Smithsonian Business Ventures (SBV) unit. Ott’s appointment came on the heels of the forced ouster the same day of former SBV CEO Gary M. Beer.

According to a report in the Washington Post, Samper required Beer upon his departure to reimburse the Smithsonian for $30,000 in questionable expenses. Samper also said the Smithsonian would report an additional $65,000 in unsubstantiated expenses to the Internal Revenue Service as possible income to Beer.

Senate Panel Clears Presidential Library Disclosure Bill

On August 1, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved H.R. 1254, the “Presidential Donation Reform Act of 2007.” On March 14, 2007, the House of Representatives approved a similar bill by a vote of 390-34. The bill passed by the Senate panel would make changes from the House-passed version with regard to the triggering amount of a donation requiring disclosure and the length of time the presidential library must report contributions.