LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A group that had hoped to build two museums to rebut the displays at the Clinton Presidential Library (search) is folding.
"I'm giving up," said Houston businessman Richard Erickson, who established nonprofit Counterlibe Inc. last year to fund construction of a Counter Clinton Library (search) in Little Rock and another in Washington.
"I was very passionate about this, but also very naive as far as fundraising procedures go," he wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
He said the Counter Clinton Library's Web site would be shut down soon. In addition to railing against the former president and his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., the site touts what may have been the failed organization's biggest moment — a segment on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" (search) in which a fake news reporter makes fun of the group's very mission.
That same show joked that presidential libaries draw "tens of visitors a year," but the Clinton Library has exceeded most expectations since opening in November, drawing more than 400,000 people in less than nine months.
"I am not surprised, but other than that, I really don't have any comment," said Skip Rutherford, president of the foundation that built the $165 million presidential library.
In a separate e-mail sent Wednesday, Erickson informed one of his key supporters, former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., that he couldn't raise enough money to continue.
"Nearly every dime raised has gone to professional fundraisers and lawyers," Erickson wrote to Barr. "I cannot continue, in good conscience, to ask well-meaning people to donate to what they believe is a good cause, when the money will most likely be consumed in administrative and legal expenses."
Barr was a manager in Clinton's House impeachment trial and Erickson said Barr would provide impeachment documents from his collection at the State University of West Georgia.
Erickson partnered with former one-term New York Congressman John LeBoutillier to start planning the response library idea three years ago. They were fond of calling the official presidential library, which opened last November, a "lie-brary."
In addition to Barr's help, Dick Morris, Clinton's former strategist who resigned after revelations of an affair with a former call girl, and Gary Aldrich, the former FBI agent whose bestseller alleging sexual escapades made headlines in 1997, pledged insider documents.
Southwest Museum Services of Dallas acknowledged two years ago that it was working on designs for a Little Rock museum. In April 2004, the effort achieved at least an air of legitimacy by achieving nonprofit status with the IRS.