27

It is my understanding that there are a number of benefits bestowed to presidents when they leave office. These include a lucrative pension, $1 million travel budget per year, personal protection etc. Can someone clarify what these benefits are and whether or not presidents lose them if they are impeached and removed from power.

58

The benefits granted to former presidents are set out in the appropriately-named Former Presidents Act passed in 1958. This act entitles former presidents to a rate of pay equal to that of a head of an executive department for the rest of their life (paragraph a), office staff (paragraph b), office space (paragraph c), a spousal allowance after the former president's death (paragraph e), and an annual allowance of up to $1 million of travel and security related expenses for themselves, and $500 thousand for their spouse (paragraph g).

However, paragraph f of the above Act defines a former president as:

a person--

  1. who shall have held the office of President of the United States of America;
  2. whose service in such office shall have terminated other than by removal pursuant to section 4 of article II of the Constitution of the United States of America; and
  3. who does not then currently hold such office.

Therefore, if impeached and removed from office, a president would not receive any of the above benefits.

On the other hand, Secret Service protection for life after leaving office is granted by 18 U.S. Code § 3056, which contains no such provision. Even if impeached and removed from office, it seems that an ex-president would still receive this protection, if not declined.

The right to a state funeral is not enshrined in law, only policy. The military pamphlet found here mentions those eligible for a state funeral, and makes no mention of impeachment and conviction disqualifying a former president from this entitlement. State funerals must be ordered by presidential proclamation, so in this sense, there doesn't appear to be anything legally guaranteeing or denying a state funeral to a former president removed from office in this way.

Nevertheless, after their death, they are entitled to have U.S. flags on federal buildings flown at half-staff for thirty days, in accordance with 4 U.S. Code § 7 (m).

  • 22
    Technically this means that a President could resign at the very last moment and still keep their benefits, since their office would be terminated voluntarily, similar to what Nixon did. – JonathanReez Jan 10 at 0:44
  • 6
    What happens if the Senate doesn't get round to voting on the impeachment until after 12 noon on the 20th, so that his service in office ends normally but he is then retroactively convicted? – Mike Scott Jan 10 at 7:20
  • 10
    @Michael pretty sure the cost of being elected is higher than the life-time payout of that fund. – Erik Jan 10 at 11:21
  • 4
    @Erik How much do they actually pay out of pocket to fund their campaign though? Isn't it mostly funded by errr...fundraising? – DKNguyen Jan 10 at 18:47
  • 6
    All the plans for gaming this law surely miss the fact that congress can change the law (and maybe even make the change retroactive) if they're sufficiently annoyed by the gaming. If congress doesn't want [unnamed hypothetical President] to get the benefits, it is in their power to do so. – Wossname Jan 10 at 21:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .