By the time the next presidential election rolls around, former President Bill Clinton will have received $16 million from taxpayers for post-presidential support, the highest figure of any ex-president.
According to Politico
, the funds from the Former Presidents Act will have covered his pension, travel, office expenses, and salaries and benefits of staff at his philanthropic foundation, federal records show.
"Scrutiny of the act — and of the vast financial empire built by the Clintons — is poised to intensify as questions mount about the family's co-mingling of personal, political, government, and foundation business," Politico said.
Critics have for years questioned the need for taxpayers to offer financial support for presidents, who have a multitude of opportunities for earning after leaving office. But while the funds for the Clintons seem excessive, they comply with government guidelines.
Officials at the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation have brushed aside questions about the use of public funds to supplement staff salaries, Politico said.
According to the General Services Administration, which administers the funds, nearly $3 million has been allocated for staff salary and benefits, the agency's budgeting documents show.
In addition, $947,000 was distributed for communications-related costs and for "equipment," which could include anything from "information technology hardware or software," Politico's analysis found.
A Clinton spokesman told Politico that no taxpayer money was used to buy or maintain the private email server which former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used during her time in office.
The Former Presidents Act also provides funding for lifetime Secret Service protection for Clinton and other presidents, but the cost remains undisclosed.
The law was set up after former President Harry Truman left office in 1958 to "maintain the dignity" of the presidency.
"The notion of former presidents becoming paupers in their old age was laid to rest with Harry Truman," Pete Sepp, president of the National Taxpayers Union, which has urged Congress to scale back payments to former presidents, told Politico. "With the prospect of ex-presidents becoming even more deeply involved in post-career politics, there should be more motivation now than ever before to try and put reasonable limits on the load taxpayers are being asked to shoulder."
Sepp also warned that, in the case of the Clintons, the funds are effectively being used to "subsidize activities that could aid presidential campaign operations."
Clinton will receive $3.1 million in pension payments from the act through 2016, Politico said, more than the amount that any of the other former presidents are set to receive.
The GSA also pays more for rent each year for Clinton's personal office than for those of any other former president, Politico reported.
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