Oklahoma’s Coburn questions more funding for 9/11 museum

February 2, 2012


Sen. Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma who isn’t afraid of questioning federal spending for popular projects, is challenging $20 million a year in new funding for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York City.

Mr. Coburn makes it clear that he’s not taking issue with the museum itself, which he says will help those still in pain with their healing process and serve as a reminder to all Americans not to take their freedom for granted.

Instead, in tough budget times, Mr. Coburn questions the rationale behind a bill that would authorize $200 million over the next 10 years for the museum and memorial without finding a way to offset those costs. He also wonders why private contributions from thousands of individuals and numerous corporations, which have flowed to America’s 9/11 Foundation, Inc., during the past decade, aren’t enough.
The bill would authorize the new $200 million federal funding stream even though the memorial and museum have already received more than $123 million in federal grants since 2009 and ended 2010 with more than $584 million in net assets.
The 9/11 families also were outraged by recent reports that executives running the memorial and museum paid themselves a total of $6.5 million in salaries, including $300,000 in severance for Joan Gerner, the former vice president of design and construction. As the highest-paid executive, Ms. Gerner made $439,463 in 2010, including the severance.

Among those earning the highest salaries are President Joseph Daniels who makes $378,288; Executive Vice President of Development Cathy Blaney, who makes $332,149; and Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Communication Lynn Rasic, who makes $217,533.

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