Sunday, May 20, 2007

The First Lady's Pin Money

Listed in the annual financial disclosure forms filed by President and Mrs. Bush is a curious item: "Henry G. Freeman Jr. Trust — $12,000."

The payment was to Mrs. Bush from an annuity created by Freeman, a prominent Philadelphia landowner, when he wrote his will in 1912.

Freeman, who died in 1917, directed that after the last named beneficiary of his estate died, $12,000 a year would be paid "to the lady termed the first lady in the land; that is, the President of the United States [sic] wife, or anyone representing the president as such, should he not be married or should she die during his administration." He specified that the money be for the first lady's "own and absolute use" and the payments "shall continue in force as long as this glorious government exists." [Link]
Freeman's "last named beneficiary" died in 1989, and first ladies have receiving funds from "The Henry G. Freeman Jr. Pin Money Fund" ever since.

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