Summary: Injustice, corruption and mismanagement are rampant in America, both inside and outside government. Congress and the Executive Branch generally don't police themselves or each other, because both too often serve corrupt special interests. Nor have the Courts or the news media been effective at exposing the facts and at holding wrongdoers accountable. So there is a need for an authoritative information source that presents the facts about recent history and current events in a palpable, hard-to-ignore way.

The Museum of Accountability is a museum of modern politics and history. It aims to hold public figures and institutions accountable by documenting policies and actions that impact the world in harmful ways. The museum will have both an online and a physical presence. It will be built in stages and involve professional journalists and historians. In addition to presenting facts about wrongdoing, it will also laud those people and organizations who worked heroically for the benefit of others.

The Museum of Accountability is a nonprofit corporation registered in the State of Washington.

Over the past eight years, Americans watched with horror as our elected leaders brought upon us

It is not only the Bush Administration that bears responsibility for what has occurred. Congress and the media failed at investigating and reporting the facts, failed at overseeing the executive branch, and failed at holding wrongdoers accountable. Moreover, in many cases, members of Congress and others -- both Democrats and Republicans -- have been complicit in wrongdoing. Ultimately, by our inaction, we all share some responsibility for what has befallen us.

Americans cannot count on Congress and the media to keep us informed and to defend justice, law and truth. Even now, millions of Americans are unaware of the facts about how the war in Iraq came about and about how disastrous it has been morally, economically, and politically. Millions of Americans are also unaware of the many other ways in which government often serves the interests of the few.

Consequently, we propose the creation of a Museum of Accountability to bear witness to the recent and ongoing violations of our laws and shared values.

Like the Holocaust Museum, this museum will document the facts about wrongdoing. Unlike the Holocaust Museum -- which was built years after the death of most of the wrongdoers -- the Museum of Accountability will exist while many of those responsible are still alive and still in power.

Via photos, video, and printed word, the museum will present a detailed and palpable accounting of the acts and omissions of our government leaders and of those outside government who aided them in their misdeeds. The museum will have a physical presence in a site yet to be determined, as well online content presenting the evidence. We also envision a traveling display and materials for lending. Content will be provided by volunteers (of which we are sure there will be many) and will be verified by a committee of historians and journalists.

The virutal component of the museum can leverage existing websites. The physical component of the museum can start off with exhibitions in libraries and in rented spaces. Eventually, the museum can move to a permanent building.

The truth will out.

At the start of the Bush Administration, our country was at the pinnacle of its power, with budget surpluses, unchallenged military supremacy, and a booming economy; America was still regarded as a beacon of freedom1 and prosperity. After eight years of mismanagement and corruption, the US is morally compromised, militarily depleted, deeply in debt, and heading into recession.

Our hope is that the Museum of Accountability will help return our country to the values that we hold dear and will deter future leaders from similar wrongdoing.

Some people say that America doesn't need more partisanship and recrimination. But democracy requires an informed citizenry and a fearless commitment to justice and the rule of law. Failure to confront wrongdoing is an invitation to further wrongdoing.

Lest we be accused of emphasizing the negative to the exclusion of the positive, the museum will devote space to lauding those individuals and organizations who have been agents of positive change.

If you are interested in working on the development of the museum, please contact

Donald A. Smith
Bellevue, Washington

1Ignoring those cases when America overthrew democratically elected governments and supported brutal dictatorships.

See also