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

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Published26 July 2016

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The Clintons were required to return an approximated $200,000 in furniture, china and art castle "stole" indigenous the White House.

What"s TrueThe Clintons voluntarily changed or payment for part gifts as result of a conflict over whether they had actually been provided to the Clintons personally or come the U.S.

What"s False

The Clintons were no "forced" come return any gifts, they were not found to have "stolen" any type of items, and also the accumulation value of the objects in question was much much less than $200,000.

In January 2001, previous president bill Clinton and former an initial lady Hillary Clinton disclosed that they had received $190,027 precious of gifts throughout 2000, the final year of their eight-year tenure in 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Follow to the Washington Post, the Clintons took the booty through them once they moved out of the White House:

Many of the presents the Clintons are taking with them room from Hollywood figures, democratic donors and a wide array the friends and associates, consisting of his Georgetown college classmates.

Most that the gifts are artworks, flatware, furniture, china and also rugs for a pair who for nearly two years have not had a house of your own however now suddenly have two large houses, one in Northwest Washington, the various other in Chappaqua, N.Y.

The rules governing the acceptance of gifts by the president and other commonwealth employees division such items right into two categories: those got from foreign officials or federal governments (foreign main gifts), and also those obtained from the American publicly (domestic gifts). The chairman is permitted to keep foreign official presents if your worth is under a details threshold; presents whose precious is end the threshold belong to the people of the united States and must be purchased in ~ fair industry price from the basic Services Administration. No such limitation uses to residential gifts, although the regulation requires disclosure of every individual gift valued at an ext than a minimal amount ($260 as of the finish of Clinton’s hatchet of office). The law likewise states that federal employees, consisting of the president and an initial lady, might not solicit gifts.


As was stated at the time, the rules for U.S. Senators space different. Senators may not accept gifts valued at an ext than $50, and also may no accept many gifts from individual donors totaling an ext than $100. Hillary Clinton took office as brand-new York senator on 3 January 2001, but due to the fact that the presents in concern were report as got while she was still first lady, the dominion wasn’t applied. At the very least one critic, Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity, claimed that also so, the timing gave the appearance Sen. Clinton to be “enriching herself from publicly service.”

There to be nothing illegal about the Clintons keeping an individual gifts that had actually been given to lock in the White House, yet the $190,027 full price tags of their last year’s to draw elicited criticism, i m sorry the previous first pair sought to stem through announcing they would certainly voluntarily pay for a section of those gifts, an amount totaling $86,000.

Days later, the New York Times reported the the Clintons would certainly return second $28,000 or an ext worth of gifts that donors complained had to be earmarked for the White residence permanent collection, not the Clintons’ personal use. Ultimately, the total worth of gifts returned by the Clintons to the U.S. Government amounted to nearly $50,000, the Times later on reported.

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

A statement issued tonight by James E. Kennedy for Mr. Clinton’s office said that every the chairs, tables, rugs and other furnishings taken for their houses in Washington and Chappaqua, N.Y., had been registered as an individual gifts by the White house gift office.

“Every item welcomed by the Clintons was figured out by the White residence gift office as a gift come them,” the declare said, adding that the bureaucratic staff at the White House had “reviewed every of the items against the official list the White house property to ensure every gift was effectively handled; no one of this items was on that list.”

The park service handles long-term donations, officials said. An individual gifts come the president and also his family members are recorded independently through the White home gift office.

The statement offered no explanation for the apparent appearance the the gifts — which encompass sofas, a rug and a kitchen table with chairs — ~ above both lists. Betty Monkman, the White house curator, did not respond to an interview request.

All told, the Clintons paid ago or returned approximately $136,000 worth of furniture, artwork, china and other family items they had kept ~ above leaving office, with $86,000 that that total consisting of an individual gifts they would presumably have been permitted to retain but decided to pay for to avoid the illustration of impropriety. Around $50,000 of the full comprised items they had actually removed but were later determined to belong to the government.

To speak the latter were “stolen” is come say more than we recognize — the remove of the wondered about items might have been based a clerical mistake — but in any type of case precise accounting that those items’ precious puts that at only a quarter 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 many of the presents received through the Clintons had been undervalued, some were never ever reported and also some were noted as lost or missing. No allegations the illegality to be made, however the subcommittee’s report recommended the the existing, overly facility system for overseeing the receipt, valuation and disposition of presidential gifts be overhauled.