Rick Bowmer, AP File Photo

Orrin Hatch Foundation wants $2M from Utah Legislature for politics center

By Dennis Romboy, KSL | Posted - Feb 15th, 2019 @ 12:47pm



SALT LAKE CITY — A foundation created to maintain retired GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch's vast collection of U.S. Senate papers wants $2 million in taxpayer dollars from the Utah Legislature.

Former state Democratic Party Chairwoman Megan Holbrook, a senior vice president at Zions Bank, made the pitch to the Business, Economic Development and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee on Thursday.

The money would be used for "programming" at the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation, which is renting space at the University of Utah's Thomas S. Monson Center on South Temple while raising money to construct its own building, she said.

Holbrook said the foundation would store Hatch's papers accumulated during his 42 years in the Senate and offer people an opportunity to learn from them. Hatch would also be there to "help instruct people on political things," she said.

The $2 million request is separate from the fundraising effort to build the Orrin G. Hatch Center at 427 E. South Temple, across the street from of the Monson Center, Holbrook told lawmakers.

Supporters of the foundation announced the building site last year. Zions Bank President and CEO Scott Anderson, chairman of the foundation's five-member board, said then that the group aimed to raise $30 million in private donations for the center. He said last May that the foundation had raised about $10.5 million.

The building will feature a replica of Hatch's Washington office where he can write his memoirs and provide space for meetings, lectures, debates, scholarly study and research. It will be a repository for the senator’s papers, legislative documents and other materials — now stored in more than 3,000 boxes.

Plans for the center also include a state-of-the-art library and digital archive for students, faculty, scholars and the public. The foundation intends to offer courses, seminars, fellowships and internships about political history and the legislative process.

Hatch left office with just over $900,000 in his campaign account, which he could donate to his foundation under federal law.

Lawmakers did not make a decision on Holbrook's request. It was one of 38 requests for money on the committee's agenda Thursday from various arts, civic and sports organizations.

Dennis Romboy

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