CAGW URGES GSA NOT TO FOOT BILL'S BILL | Citizens Against Government Waste

CAGW URGES GSA NOT TO FOOT BILL'S BILL

Press Release



For Immediate ReleaseContact:Sean Rushton or Melissa Naudin
February 1, 2001(202) 467-5300

 


Washington, D.C. - Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), America’s largest taxpayer advocacy group, today criticized former-President Clinton's choice of office space in ritzy midtown Manhattan.  The 6,000 square-foot suite, located within the Carnegie Hall Towers, will cost more than all four other living ex-presidents' offices combined.


“The Clintons have always treated public monies with a sense of entitlement, but this takes the cake,” CAGW President Thomas A. Schatz said.  “Though the law affords former presidents great latitude in cost, that does not mean there is carte blanche to rent the most resplendent suite on the market, more appropriate for a medium-sized and highly profitable company.  Once again, Mr. Clinton has displayed his narcissism, his spendthrift habits, and willingness to squeeze the maximum benefit out of every loophole.  If Mr. Clinton wants a glamorous office, he should pay for part of it himself instead of leaving the tab on the taxpayers bill.”


Former presidents under federal law are entitled to have an office anywhere within the United States.  Along with rent, all office expenses including postage and staff salaries are paid by taxpayers.  Currently, all living presidents from Ford to Bush have offices within their respective home states.  The total cost for all four combined is $624,000 or $26,000 less than Mr. Clinton’s new digs.


Congressional leaders have labeled the proposed office space located on the 56th floor of the prestigious building as a “Presidential Penthouse” for its views of the East River and Central Park.  Clinton officials have estimated the annual lease at around $650,000 per year, or nearly $108 per square foot.  This cost is far more than the average office suite, even in New York City, and is enough space for 40 to 50 workers.  A quick search on the Internet (www.ManhattanOfficeSpace.com) revealed average full service office space costs in the midtown area of $50 per square foot.  There is even a nice sublet through 2006 on Fifth Avenue near the Empire State Building “with two terraces, full floor identity, hardwood floors and panoramic views,” for $49 per square foot. 


Clinton spokesman Jake Siewart, trying to defend the former president, stated it best: “This is downtown Manhattan… a pricey place to have an office.”  Our point exactly.  While it would be less expensive to hunker down near Clinton’s Chappaqua residence or even in Clinton’s home state of Arkansas, if the former president insists on Manhattan, there’s much more reasonable space available.


The General Services Administration (GSA) will negotiate the lease and will decide whether to sign it.  Some congressional leaders, including Representative Ernest Istook (R- Okla.), have urged the GSA not to sign the lease. 


CAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with over a million members and supporters, dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in government.


 


 

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