* Last year…
* This past September 20th…
Gov. J.B. Pritzker fired the executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Friday, marking the latest chapter of turmoil for the Springfield institution. […]
A spokeswoman for Pritzker said they couldn’t provide details of the firing.
An Illinois watchdog has determined the head of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield violated policy by loaning its copy of the Gettysburg Address to conservative commentator Glenn Beck.
The state’s Office of the Inspector General started investigating the loan after it received an anonymous tip that officials at the museum “p*mped out” an irreplaceable, handwritten copy of the Gettysburg Address to Beck for $50,000 last year.
Mercury One, Beck’s right-leaning nonprofit, put the rare artifact on display for three days at its office in Texas as part of a “pop-up” museum in June 2018.
Lowe, the former director of the George W. Bush Presidential Center who took over at the Springfield museum in July 2016, ignored the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency’s standard practices for loaning items, according to the inspector general report.
After the Gettysburg Address arrived at its destination in Texas, the Facebook page of Beck’s television and radio station, The Blaze, posted a live video showing “Beck and a woman referred to in the video as a curator together lifting the Gettysburg Address out of the crate with gloved hands and carrying it to a table,” according to the report. […]
“The people of Illinois are fortunate that the Gettysburg Address and other artifacts ultimately returned safely to the ALPLM in June 2018, despite the risks that were taken,” the report says.
In recommending Lowe’s firing, the report also noted that he attempted to make two additional loans to Mercury One that never came to fruition, one because the planned exhibit never occurred and one because it was blocked by Lincoln museum staff.
State historian Samuel Wheeler told investigators that he told Lowe the loan was “inappropriate and unadvisable on every level.” Wheeler said that Lowe responded that the decision was already made and that he wanted to know how to facilitate the loan.
Investigators interviewed Lowe, who said he was not aware the Historic Preservation Agency board, which was no longer in existence when the loan was made, had passed a resolution prohibiting future loans of the Gettysburg Address.
Lowe said he knew Beck from the time he was director of the George Bush Presidential Center in Dallas. Lowe said Beck contacted him about wanting to help raise money to pay off the debt that was incurred from buying the Taper collection of Lincoln artifacts. As part of that effort, Beck wanted to mount an exhibit in Dallas that would use Lincoln artifacts. […]
[Chief Operating Officer Michael Little] went to work for Mercury One after leaving the ALPLM in lieu of termination. Little was the subject of another inspector general report that said he left a Lincoln document unattended in the Capitol.
* From the Inspector General’s report…
Mr. Lowe’s Consulting Business And Advisory Position With Mercury One
On an ALPLM form dated August 17, 2018, Mr. Lowe disclosed that he has secondary employment through his business, Alan Lowe Consulting. Mr. Lowe described this business as consulting related to archives, museums, and public policy centers.
In his position as ALPLM Executive Director, Mr. Lowe is required to annually submit a Supplemental Statement of Economic Interests form to the Executive Ethics Commission.69 In response to a question on that form as to whether he had held any non-governmental position during the preceding calendar year of 2018, Mr. Lowe’s response dated April 25, 2019 disclosed that he had held an uncompensated position of “Member Advisory Committee” for “Mercury One American Journey Experience.”
There is so much more to this. Just awful on so many levels. Go refill your coffee and marvel at the perfidy of it all.