Claim: The Clintons are charging rent to the Secret Service agents assigned to protect them.
Example:[Collected on the Internet, 2001]
Just in case your blood pressure wasn't up enough . . .
As you know, the Clintons had to establish residence in New York for Hillary to run for the Senate. So they bought that big house-BUT there was no place for Secret Service which has statuary responsibility to protect the First Family.
So, a special 'safe area' was built.
NOW, the Clintons are charging them rent! It just happens that their rent is about same amount as their mortgage payment!
In short, we taxpayers pay for the Secret Service addition, AND the Clinton's mortgage! Such a deal, eh? What will it take for the American public to wake up?
Don't you just feel like you've been suckered again, fellow taxpayers?
I say let's pass this info throughout the length and breadth of this Nation to shake the American people into a heightened state of anger upon knowing they have been literally raped during their long sleep by no other than those trustees they have appointed to look after their interests . . .
A shorter, less vehement version terminates after ". . . we taxpayers pay for the Secret Service addition, AND the Clinton's mortgage!" with "Perfectly legal. Bet that makes your day."
Some versions arrive prefaced with "From a Fox News source" heading.
Origins: The piece quoted above began circulating on the Internet in November 2000. One hardly knows what to make of backfence gossip so inelegantly crafted that its unintentional humor is as striking
as what we're supposed to be hopping mad about. The piece is worth a read if only for its "... the Secret Service which has statuary responsibility to protect the First Family" line. (What, the Secret Service has to stand really, really still? Or are lantern-jawed agents charged with running about gardens to shoo away diarrheal pigeons?)
All humor aside, this is a blood-boiler, full of sound and fury but signifying nothing. It's gossip, plain and simple; a dirty little story dumped onto the Internet to further discredit a President and First Lady some don't like.
The Secret Service is notorious for its reluctance to discuss even mundane aspects of how it carries out its duties, so authoritative information about the setup of the Clinton home in New York state is hard to come by. However, around the time of the Chappaqua purchase, the press estimated that a permanent, taxpayer-funded security system worth more than $1 million would have to be installed to adequately protect the President. Security measures of this level are not specific to the Clintons; the homes of all Presidents are treated this way, as (to a lesser extent) are the homes of former Presidents. In each case the costs of installation and maintenance for the security systems comes from public funds, because the protection of First Families is viewed as a right and proper charge upon the nation. (In 1981, the Secret Service spent several months providing round-the-clock protection, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars per day, for an empty Pacific Palisades, California, home owned by Ronald and Nancy Reagan — even though the Reagans no longer lived in or used the house, and even though it was vacant and up for sale.)
The Clintons' home in Chappaqua is served by the White Plains office of the Secret Service, which was already well-staffed before the Clintons' home purchase (largely because many consulates maintain houses in the area). The arrival of the First Family shifted the office's workload from 90% investigative and 10% protective to 80% protective and 20% investigative. The office was there before the Clintons bought into the neighborhood, and it will continue to be there even if the Clintons leave.
In December 2000, the Clintons took possession of another house, this one a $2.85 million home in Washington, D.C., a stone's throw from famed Embassy Row. Though White House press releases refer to the Clintons as "residents of Chappaqua, New York" and emphasize the house is "for Mrs. Clinton's use while the Senate is in session," security renovations will have to be made to this house as well even if only the former First Lady uses the place. (Former Presidents can get $200,000 in security improvements at a second home, and more with Congressional approval, which usually is just a formality.)
Bill Clinton and his wife are the last to be afforded lifetime Secret Service protection. In 1997, Congress changed the rules governing protection of former Presidents, limiting future ex-Chief Executives to only ten years' worth of protection after they leave office.
The Clintons have always been subject to rumors of the "Slick Willy" variety; that is, ones which play upon a recurrent theme of their taking advantage of loopholes and benefits they've a legal, but not moral, right to. In the world of popular lore, they are often perceived as candy grabbers, greedy little children set loose in an enormous sweets shop funded by the taxpayer. This latest rumor is another of this kind, an expression of widely-held public opinion. It's gossip, but it's what the public is thinking, set down in the form of a story.
There was a kernel of truth underlying the gossip here, but that kernel has been so distorted that it hardly qualifies as the truth any more. As Lloyd Grove reported in the Washington Post:
It is a standard arrangement that the Secret Service provide payment to homeowners for space used by the agency in such situations. The Clintons did not take it upon themselves to "charge the Secret Service rent."
The amount provided is based on a government formula, not set by the homeowner, and in the Clintons' case this amount is $1,100. (Note that this figure was not chosen by the Clintons, and it is well short of their monthly mortgage payment.)
Most important, although regulations call for the payment of this amount, the Clintons have not in fact accepted any money from the Secret Service.
Update: Versions of this rumor circulated in January 2008 included the following addendum:
If Hillary wins in 2008 and Bill is 'appointed' to fill her Senate seat and either live to retire 'they' (together or alone) would get two US Presidential retirement checks, two US Senate retirement checks, and a retirement check from the State of Arkansas. About the only thing they MIGHT NOT get is a Social Security
check....but I wouldn't bet on it.... I understand ole Bill has earned $40,000,000 in the past six years. What a guy!
AND THE REST OF THE STORY... Hilarious Rotten Clinton, as a New York State Senator, now comes under the 'Congressional Retirement and Staffing Plan,' which means that even if she never gets reelected, she STILL receives her Congressional salary until she dies. (Would it not be nice if all Americans were pension eligible after only 4 years?) If Bill outlives her, he then inherits HER salary until HE dies. He is already getting his Presidential salary until he dies. If Hillary outlives
Bill, she also gets HIS salary until she dies. Guess who pays for that?
The (false) claim that anyone who serves even a single term in Congress is eligible to collect the equivalent of a full congressional salary for life is based on a misunderstanding of the congressional pension plan.