Hillary Says She and Bill Did Nothing Wrong In Taking White House Gifts

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:27 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - New York Democratic Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton denies that she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, did anything wrong in accepting nearly $200,000 in gifts before they left the White House.

Amid the growing controversy, the former first lady insisted to reporters that she and her husband had not taken any more from the White House than their predecessors.

"If you look on a yearly basis over the eight years, we received gifts that are valued at about the same amount as [President George and First Lady Barbara Bush] received in four years, on a yearly basis. We followed all the rules. I am not going to get into any more details. We complied with everything that presidents and their families are expected to comply with," Mrs. Clinton said.

However, according to figures released Jan. 19 by the Clinton White House, the Bushes received an average of $30,789.75 a year in gifts, compared to $37,491.75 a year in gifts for the Clintons. Clinton spokesman Jim Kennedy said the actual total for the Bushes was about $35,000 a year.

Among the gifts, noted film director Steven Spielberg and his wife sent china to the first couple that was worth $4,920. Denise Rich, whose fugitive ex-husband Marc was pardoned by the former president in the last hours of his presidency, gave the Clintons two coffee tables and two chairs.

Now that she is a senator, Mrs. Clinton cannot accept most gifts that are worth more than $50. However, the gifts arrived while she was still first lady and thus no such limit applied.

Former President George H.W. Bush was traveling and unavailable for comment, according to spokesman Tom Freschette.