An internet meme claiming the Hillary Clinton was forced to return $200,000 worth of furniture, china and art she "stole" from the White home is based on a grain of truth.

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Published26 July 2016

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The Clintons were compelled to return an estimated $200,000 in furniture, china and also art lock "stole" native the White House.

As was discussed at the time, the rules because that U.S. Senators space different. Senators may not accept presents valued at much more than $50, and also may no accept many gifts from individual donors totaling more than $100. Hillary Clinton took office as new York senator on 3 January 2001, but because the gifts in question were report as obtained while she was still an initial lady, the ascendancy wasn’t applied. At the very least one critic, Charles Lewis of the Center because that Public Integrity, stated that even so, the timing provided the illustration Sen. Clinton was “enriching herself from windy service.”


There to be nothing illegal about the Clintons keeping personal gifts that had been provided to them in the White House, yet the $190,027 total price tags of their final year’s haul elicited criticism, i m sorry the former first pair sought come stem by announcing they would certainly voluntarily pay because that a portion of those gifts, an amount totaling $86,000.

Days later, the New York Times reported that the Clintons would certainly return second $28,000 or more worth of presents that donors complained had been earmarked because that the White home permanent collection, no the Clintons’ personal use. Ultimately, the full worth of gifts returned through the Clintons come the U.S. Federal government amounted to virtually $50,000, the Times later on reported.

A statement from Clinton spokesman James E. Kennedy attempting to explain the flap proved less than enlightening:

A statement issued this evening by James E. Kennedy for Mr. Clinton’s office claimed that every the chairs, tables, rugs and other furnishings taken for their homes in Washington and also Chappaqua, N.Y., had actually been registered as personal gifts through the White home gift office.

“Every item embraced by the Clintons was determined by the White house gift office together a gift to them,” the statement said, adding that the administrative staff in ~ the White House had “reviewed each of the items against the official list the White house property come ensure every gift was properly handled; none of this items was on the list.”

The park business handles permanent donations, public official said. Personal gifts come the president and his family are recorded individually through the White house gift office.

The statement offered no explanation because that the evident appearance that the gifts — which encompass sofas, a rug and also a kitchen table v chairs — top top both lists. Betty Monkman, the White home curator, did not respond come an interview request.

All told, the Clintons paid back or returned about $136,000 precious of furniture, artwork, china and other family members items they had actually kept upon leaving office, through $86,000 that that full consisting of personal gifts they would certainly presumably have actually been enabled to retain but decided come pay for to protect against the illustration of impropriety. About $50,000 that the full comprised items they had actually removed but were later established to belong to the government.

To speak the latter were “stolen” is to say much more than we understand — the removal of the wondered about items might have been based a clerical failure — however in any type of case an exact accounting the those items’ precious puts the at only a 4 minutes 1 of what has actually been alleged: $50,000, not $200,000.

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A House government reform subcommittee conducted a year-long examination concluding in 2002 which found that numerous of the presents received by the Clintons had been undervalued, some were never reported and some were detailed as lost or missing. No allegations of illegality were made, but the subcommittee’s report recommended the the existing, overly facility system because that overseeing the receipt, valuation and also disposition the presidential presents be overhauled.