Capitalizing on a little-noticed component of the federal budget, a number of former U.S. presidents are enjoying the retirement benefit of millions of taxpayer dollars, including expenses for rent, postage, phone, and office staff, and even their satellite television bills.
“Bill Clinton is a multimillionaire, but you’re paying for the Cinemax in his office,” the Daily Caller reported, after filing a Freedom of Information Act request for thousands of pages of e-mails and documents chronicling how taxpayer dollars are spent on former presidents each year. “That’s just one eyebrow-raising expense a former occupant of the White House has been allowed to put on the taxpayer tab every year, even though every living ex-president is quite wealthy.”
In 2011, Clinton used his nearly $1-million post-presidency allowance for expenses such as rent, travel, personnel, and postage. He also used the money to install at least 10 televisions in his offices equipped with a top-tier suite of content from DirecTV. The $184 a month taxpayers dished out for his television entertainment desires provided Clinton with his DVR Service, 145 satellite channels, and 32 high-definition “Entertainment Unlimited” channels, including premium offerings such as HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax.
But, as the Daily Caller notes, Clinton is not the only former president living large off the $3.7 million doled out in taxpayer dollars in 2011. In that year, $1.3 million in government funding was dished out to former President George W. Bush, $835,000 to George H.W. Bush, and more than $500,000 to Jimmy Carter.
According to an ABC News article last May, in 2010, taxpayer-financed expenses included $15,000 for Jimmy Carter’s postage, $80,000 for George W. Bush’s phone bills, and a whopping $579,000 for Bill Clinton’s rent.
These allowances do not include the cost of Secret Service protection, which they are now guaranteed to enjoy for the rest of their lives, as allocated by new legislation signed last week by President Obama. In addition to satellite TV programming, Clinton and Carter’s offices both use taxpayer funding to subsidize subscriptions to the New York Times, running bills of $322.40 (for the digital version) and $415.58 (for the paper version), respectively.
READ MORE: Former Presidents Reap Millions in Taxpayer Dollars