Bill Clinton photo

Press Briefing by Person Who is Familiar with the Records

April 15, 1994

The Briefing Room

3:11 P.M. EDT

MR. GEARAN: I think given the timeline that you received the information, it might be best for us to walk through this, read this statement on the record and then the rest of the briefing on the details, and as we get into this, can be on background. So why don't we just go through this so we can --

Q: Has this actually been mailed -- gone now?

MR. GEARAN: The Clintons signed the return this morning and it's been forwarded today.

MR. KENDALL: I'm not sure it's actually at the post office this second, but it's on its way.

MR. GEARAN: We'll take the question. (Laughter.)

The President and Mrs. Clinton's 1993 federal income tax return shows that they have paid $62,670 in federal income tax on an adjusted gross income of $293,757, of which $189,167 was the President's salary. The return shows that the Clintons are entitled to a refund of $7,982. The Clintons have elected to apply this amount, in its entirety, to their 1994 taxes and, therefore, will not receive any refund at this time.

In addition to the President's salary, the Clintons' income included interest and dividend income and capital gains, including income and capital gains reported by Boston Harbor Trust Company, the trustee of the Clintons' blind trust; a refund of 1992 taxes paid by the Clintons to the state of Arkansas; and residual payments and royalty income. The Clintons' adjusted gross income also included miscellaneous income of approximately $38,700, representing the reimbursement by the Presidential Transition Planning Foundation of the cost of the Clintons' move from Little Rock, Arkansas, to Washington, D.C., in January 1993. The tax law permits deduction of the full amount of these moving expenses as an itemized deduction on the Clintons' return. If this one-time moving expense was not included, the Clintons would have paid $61,583 on an adjusted gross income of $255,074.

The return also reports dividend and interest income of $12,000 from an annual Henry G. Freeman, Jr. Pin Money Fund established under a 1912 will for whoever is, at any given time, the wife of the President of the United States. Mrs. Clinton intends to contribute this income to charitable entities.

The Clintons have claimed itemized deductions of $71,482, which includes $17,000 in contributions to charities; $38,683 in moving expenses, as we noted in the third paragraph here; and $15,815 in payments of state and local taxes; and $5,543 in interest deductions.

The preparation of the Clintons returns was prepared by Robert Jones, who is a member of the Washington, D. C., accounting firm of Hariton, Mancuso and Jones. Mr. Jones did not prepare the 1992 returns; they were prepared by a Little Rock firm. When the Clintons moved to Washington, they switched their accounts to the appropriate work here in Washington.

We've gone through the salaries. I've gone through the statement. Let me go through the individual line-by-line so we can just walk our way through this. For line 7, for the wages and salaries, $191,640 includes the President's salary of $189,167. That represents the income he earned starting January 20, 1993 --obviously less than a full year. The wages and salaries also includes $2,473 paid to the Clinton by E.P. Talent for residuals that the Clintons earned in 1993 for appearances on the Arsenio Hall Show; specifically, $2,046 was paid to the President, and $427 was paid to Mrs. Clinton.

For our next line, as we get into the line A taxable interest income -- with the exception of $288 paid to California, again associated with this E.P. Talent, the remainder of state and local taxes of the $15,641 was paid to Arkansas. Line 8B, as you work your way down to tax-exempt interest income, this is the interest earned principally from Arkansas municipal bonds. It also includes $588 in interest from Cortland municipal money market fund, and $41 from a Schwab tax-exempt money fund.

PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: Stop for just a second. The $16,000 is actually the -- it's not -- that's the interest they got from the various investments -- scheduled -- not the state and local --

MR. GEARAN: Right, right. The $16,000 -- Jim corrects me -- is, as we get to Schedule B, the total -- as you can see on Schedule B on line 4; the total from the interest income that's listed in Schedule B.

Where are we? Taxable refunds -- that's from a state tax refund from Arkansas, the $2,046 noted there. Line 13, capital gains, that's as reported by the blind trust; that's gone over in Schedule D, which is attached. Line 17A is the pensions and annuities; this amount represents those monies rolled over from Mrs. Clinton's interest in the Rose Law Firm retirement plans into an IRA that is now in the blind trust. It also includes amounts rolled over to IRAs now in the blind trust from two Keough accounts of Mrs. Clinton. The Clintons' other pension and annuity interests were also placed in blind trust accounts. When the custody of those accounts was transferred to the trustee, there's no distribution of assets and, thus, no requirement to report the transfer on line 17A of the return.

Line 18 -- this is all the interest and dividend income reported, plus a $3 royalty which is reviewed in Schedule C for Midlife.

PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: Well, this is just the royalty off of Schedule E.

MR. GEARAN: The royalty off of Schedule E that we'll go into later. Statement 1 details the other income, which is the moving expenses that I noted at the beginning -- the $38,683 in moving expenses that was based on a calculation using the Rand McNally Atlas from Little Rock to Washington, D.C., they calculated that. So we bring it down to the total income of $293,757.

Q: When do you want to take questions? As we go along?

MR. GEARAN: Why don't I just grind through this just so we can get through it? The next page goes through the deductions that we can go through -- $71,000 -- the total tax paid, you see there is -- $670 -- yes, the tax that's required that's due. We go through -- I think everything else here is straightforward. The one thing -- 58A, this excess Social Security is from E.P. Talent -- everything else I think we went through in the opening statement.

The overpaid money, as I noted, is credited to next year's taxes.

Q: How about -- taxpayers -- on -- income tax withheld -- $61,495 and --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I'm sorry, what line are you on?

Q: 1993 estimated taxpayers -- $5,000 --


PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: Yes, the President and Mrs. Clinton. They had other income in addition just to salary, so they had to make up --

Q: Those are carried over from last year, isn't it? It says applied from '92 returns.

Q: That's -- tax payments and amount applied for '92.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Schedule A, we can go quickly through this. As I said, the state and local taxes is mainly Arkansas, with the exception of $288 to California. The personal property tax of $66 is for a 1986 Oldsmobile that the Clintons own.

Q: They're selling it?


Q: Is it here in Washington?


Q: Is it with the Mustang?


Q: Where is the Mustang?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: The Mustang is in a museum. Any other car-related questions? (Laughter.)

Q: Not until Sunday.

Q: Where is this car?


Q: Where -- is it parked at somebody's house?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I'll take the question. (Laughter.)

Q: He's going to take the Mustang back after he goes home to real life?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I can't confirm that. All right, we've gotten through the cars. The home interest mortgage deducted on the Clintons' return -- this is the interest that the Clintons paid on their half of the mortgage on the residence in Little Rock that is lived in year-round by Mrs. Clinton's mother. And it's also the Clintons' residence in Arkansas. It's the place of residence for purposes of state taxes and for the purposes of voter registration. That has been previously deducted in past years.

The investment interest expense -- this is reported on form K-1, the K-1 earning statement supplied by their trustee of the blind trust. Interest expense was incurred on one or more of the investments, placed in a blind trust. But because, obviously, the trust is blind, we do not know the particular investment or investments. That's the total contributions. Now we're down to -- the contributions is $17,000. Those are all paid by checks. That's the total of their contributions to charitable organizations for this year.

Q: Can you provide a list of those? And do they include that $12,000 that was passed along from the Freeman will?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No. Mrs. Clinton intends to donate that to charity. It's not included in the $17,000. I can read you this list for --

Q: Can you put it up afterwards?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: -- and for historical purposes, and we will provide it to you. The Arkansas Bar Foundation, Children's Hospital Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Q: No amounts?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No. The total is -- Union Rescue Mission, the First United Methodist Church in Little Rock, the Vincent W. Foster Scholarship Fund; the Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C.; Georgetown University, Emmanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas; Penn State, the Charles Engle Memorial Scholarship; Penn State, the Hugh E. Rodham Memorial Scholarship. Eleanor Roosevelt Monument Fund, St. Vincent Development Fund in Little Rock, the Sidwell Friends School; WAMU 88.5 FM, that's National Public Radio.

Q: What, to get them off the air sooner? (Laughter.)

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Is he getting a director's chair? The Washington Ballet.

Q: You mean WAMU, isn't it?



SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Okay, WAMU. Washington Ballet, Wellesley College and Yale Law School.

Q: So when are you going to let us know the amounts? I think you did last year.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: We'll post the complete list with the total at $17,000. I think that's --

Q: With individual amounts?


Q: I believe you provided individual amounts last year.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: That's how we're going to leave it this year.

Q: Is there a reason for the change?


Q: It's not provided as part of the tax return? They don't get an itemized list of the contributions?


SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Okay, moving expenses -- we --

Q: I'm sorry -- it's this just like a matter of privacy, or what?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think this is just the approach that we're taking this year. I don't know --

Q: Who made the decision after --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I'm not aware of who made the decision. Let me visit the question. I mean, frankly -- we had the information, we had the list; we thought we were really on the ball here with that list. (Laughter.) If there's a change in our policy here we'll -- if there's any change in the 1986 Oldsmobile, I'll be able to show it to you. White House shifting.

Wait a minute. I'm going through this. Line 18 -- moving expenses -- we talked about from the Transition Foundation that was -- we dealt with at the top of this.

Q: So they're claiming some of that as income, is that right?


Q: It's a small amount.


Q: I know, but it doesn't match the $38,683 on this Moore income -- on --

PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: This income -- on line 22 is where the $38,683 is included in this plus -- if you look at statement one, it explains it.

Q: Is that because of limitation on deductions? I see $7,000 vanishes --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No, no -- as you can see --

Q: vanishes between the total on the bottom and their income is high enough to be subject to limitation on deductions. Is that the reason for that?

PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: No, that's just the way it's always -- the proper treatment. You report it as income; you take it as a deduction -- you do get because of the phase-out on deductions, you do get hurt a little bit on that.

Q: So there's less than $100 difference, though?


Q: That's what also accounts for the difference in the total there, isn't it?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think the difference you'll see at the last page -- the royalty income that we said at the beginning -- it's $255. That accounts for the difference.

Q: No, I'm talking about itemized deduction -- if you add up the total figures, they add to $77,041, but the total at the bottom is $71,400 and that's subject to limitation --

PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: Yes, that's right. That's right.

Q: And that's the reason?


SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: You understand your question?

Q: Yes, I understand.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Okay. Schedule B -- Boston Harbor Trust is, as we said, the blind trust. Fidelity Bank is the handout that we gave you when you came into the room.

Under the terms of Mr. Freeman's will, upon the decease of the last surviving member of this family, or stated in the will, the First Lady in the land, the wife of the President of the United States, or anyone representing the President is to receive $12,000 annually.

You'll see on page, I think it's 5 of the will that describes this as that Henry G. Freeman, Jr. Pin Money Fund. And he states the reason that he makes this fund is because he feels the President of the United States receives such a miserable pittance for a man holding the greatest position on Earth. (Laughter.) That is on the record, thank you.

Q: So this is a -- we haven't seen this one before, so is this the first time it's been claimed?


PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: It's the first time it has appeared on the Clinton return, as this is their first year in the White House. The trust, according to the information we have, these payments are to begin after all of the heirs and descendants of this particular man had phased out; and that apparently happened in 1989; and left a sum of so-called adjudications -- distributions of the will in December of 1992. So whether any payment was made to Mrs. Bush, we don't know.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: So the last surviving annuitant died on November 6, 1989; adjudication rendered December 21st, 1992.

Q: Does that imply it was disputed? That somebody else felt is should come to them instead of the First --

PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: Not that we know, no. I imagine it's a trust -- after all, this is -- year old --

Q: But the adjudication in 1992, sir?

PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: -- whoever the executor is wanted to get it --

Q: Why is it called the Pin Money Fund?

PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: That's what he calls it.

Q: And who is this fella?

PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: We expect you to go out and help me find out -- we don't know.


Q: How did you find out about this --

PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: We got a letter from the bank that's the executor --



Q: Do you know when he died? The --


PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: The will is dated 1912. And there are a couple of codicils -- exactly when he died.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: In 1928, I believe is when --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Okay, that deals with the reference there to Fidelity Bank. Mid-Life Investments, as been previously reported; it was -- Mrs. Clinton was a co-investor with other Rose Law Firm partners, and an investment only partnership named at Life Investments. This had only one source of income which was an investment in a limited partnership that invested several years ago in a production of a television movie, which netted $2 in royalties to Mrs. Clinton in 1992, and $3 in 1993.

Stephens, Inc. is the asset -- by Stephens, all of which were placed in the Clinton's blind trust -- were stock in TCBY and WalMart; investments in an automated government money trust fund; in federal government cash series; an interest bearing account in Arkansas Municipal Bonds.

Twin City Bank -- were the national banker -- personal checking accounts, and two CDs, the dividend income. I think we pretty much handled the -- of Liz Claiborne, which was also put into the blind trust.

Q: the rough size of the blind trust?

PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: I don't know how to answer that.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Why don't we end there for this. We can now take questions and this should be, I think appropriately, ON BACKGROUND.

Q: Can you explain why it cost $39,000 to move him? That seems pretty high.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: That was the, again, the amount is not literally $39,000. You've got the right amount.

Q: It's $38,700.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes, whatever it is, was the amount paid to United Van Lines as calculated mileage, as I mentioned, from Little Rock to Washington. It's the cost incurred for packing, storing, transport, unpacking. I don't know if there were any associated costs due to the nature of a president versus anyone else making the move. But that was literally the amount that was provided.

Q: Were they -- to his records or something, because I thought they didn't have that much furniture. And that's an awful lot for a move.

Q: We recall seeing one -- we were told the day they moved in Little Rock there was one van and not many personal belongings, because they've lived in the mansion for so long.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I don't have any better guidance to you, but that was --

Q: That all was paid --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: That was all paid directly to United Van Lines.

Q: That's only their personal stuff, right? We're not talking office files, anything like that?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: My understanding is, this is --

Q: And that doesn't include anything like lodgings or incidentals? It's all for the van lines?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I don't speak for United Van Lines. I don't know how they calculate that. I think the best guidance we can give you to this is, literally, the amount that was determined by them, that was paid directly to them.

Q: Where did this money come from? I know it was from the transition planning foundation. But is this part of the fund that the transition had available to it?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes. This is the transition planning foundation. These are not the government funds. These were the funds raised by individuals that were part of the transition fund and the board of directors saw this as an appropriate expenditure of foundation monies as appropriate to the mission of the transition, to have moving expenses incurred.

Q: Was it for the single truck we saw unload here, or were there other trucks, like with library stuff and --

Q: Do you know the -- I mean, I guess --

Q: As a general matter, there's no limit on the amount of money that is deductible as moving expenses?

PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: Well, there are some limits, yes, but generally

Q: Forty thousand dollars? (Laughter.)

PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: -- usually the limits are on your lodging -- meals and lodging that you can incur. But the direct -- what you pay the van lines is usually fully deductible.

Q: You may have explained this, but what was The New York Times royalty income for?

PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: We understand it was for the residual for some op-ed pieces from the syndication of some old op-ed pieces by the Clintons --

Q: Both of them?

PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: I don't know. I don't know the details.

Q: When was the blind trust actually set up?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: It was set up in July of 1993.

Q: Do you have any idea how big it is?

Q: We'll know in May when the financial disclosure forms come out, or is that how --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: It's regulated by the Office of Government.

Q: The blind trust documents --

Q: What were the dates, or the date of the Arsenio Hall appearance --



Q: Last summer.

Q: Do the get residuals every time this --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: State capitals for $400, please.

Q: Do they keep getting money every time this clip of the show is shown?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes, my understanding -- residuals --

Q: These are residuals for the appearance during the campaign?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes. He did not appear in 1993.

Q: the Boston company? Do you know who owns it? Who runs it? Any details of that?


Q: There's no money put aside by -- IRA.

Q: Do they have any kind of retirement program?

PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: There were no deductions from his salary. There is, in the compensation package for the President, there is a retirement feature to it. It's not a qualified plan situation.

Q: Can you specify -- you said that the retirement funds, the rollover funds, came from her pension at Rose plus two Keoughs, which would be the self-employed thing, I think. What companies were those involved with? Where were those Keoughs from, do you know?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, the amount from the Rose retirement plan was $136,161. The amount from the Keough accounts were --

Q: $136 --

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: -- 161. The amount from the Keough accounts was $6,367.

Q: $6,367, but you don't know which companies they were with? What self-employment she earned that under?


Q: Did this become part of the blind trust?


Q: Does it keep its character as a retirement fund?


Q: So when they come out of the blind -- when they take back the assets, it will be -- it will still be retirement?


It's just listed under 17, you'll see, that's just a distribution. You'll see the taxable amount as listed as zero on line 17B.

Q: Were you doing the amount of what was state return and also was annual return filed on behalf of Chelsea? And will that be available for us?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: The state return has not been filed yet. I don't know Chelsea's circumstances.

Q: deadline?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah, it's May 16th or something.

Q: Have those taxes not been calculated yet for the state?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: They have not been filed yet.

Q: They have not been filed.

PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: Chelsea, that's a good -- I don't know the answer to that.

PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: Well, I think that her income is so low, it's under the threshold.

PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: So there's not separate filing for her --

Q: What is Chelsea's income? Where does she get income?

PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: I don't know. I don't know.

PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: This is another serious question. The Boston Harvard Trust Company does not have anything to do with the clean-up fund. It's not like limited itself to Boston Harbor bonds or anything. It's just a regular financial firm.



PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: The company that does it, right.


Q: Boston Harbor -- right?


Q: Back to Chelsea for a second. I don't know what she files, but it seems to me that her income would be passive. There were some investments set up for her, and even a dollar of passive income obliges her to file a tax return.

PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: I'll just have to check with the accountant on that.


Q: What more can you tell us about the TV movie.


Q: clients -- $3.00?


Q: What about the house -- the mother's house? Did you say they owned half of it?


Q: I thought the mother paid off the loan -- the $20,000 loan -- to buy the house.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I'm sorry, this is Mrs. Rodhams' home in Illinois.

PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: Actually, did he say that?


PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE RECORDS: Anything else we can help you with today.

Q: Her occupation is attorney.


Q: Going back to the McDougal Van Lines -- (Laughter.)


Q: You wouldn't be inclined to read that statement in front of the camera, would you, since you did it on the record?

END 4:39 P.M. EDT

William J. Clinton, Press Briefing by Person Who is Familiar with the Records Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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