Photo by Steve Jurvetson via Flickr (CC BY 4.0) Washington D.C. – First Grandma Marian Robinson, 79, will receive a lifetime 160K government pension when she leaves the White House next year, according to congressional budget statements.
According to documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Mrs. Robinson earned the lifetime pension for “services rendered as full-time/in-home caregiver” for granddaughters Malia, 18, and Sasha, 15, during President Obama’s two terms in office.
In January of 2009, it was reported that Mrs. Robinson was living in the White House full-time to tend to her granddaughters. She was the first live-in grandmother at the White House since Elivera M. Doud, the mother of Mamie Eisenhower, during the Eisenhower Administration.
Critics say Mrs. Robinson should not profit from something as simple as taking care of family. Sally Kellner, volunteer/activist for the National Taxpayers Union
, says this is a prime example of needless spending. “I think it’s ridiculous that taxpayers must pay this woman a lifetime salary for something everyday Americans do for free. We take care of our families because we love them, not for profit.”
When asked if Mrs. Robinson’s lifetime pension was justified, Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, declined to comment but said a special oversight committee would review all post-Obama Administration budgetary obligations.
Before her son-in-law became President of the United States, Mrs. Robinson had never been abroad. Now, after almost eight years of being the nation’s Grandmother-In-Chief, she’s a seasoned world traveler who has, accompanied by her granddaughters, been to Senegal, Tanzania, China and Italy, where she even met the Pope.
“She’s been the rock of the family,” says Obama family friend and biographer Peter Slevin. “It’s been a real blessing for the girls (Malia & Sasha) to have their grandma with them during these formative years,” he said.
Shortly after the 2008 presidential election, President Obama called Robinson “One of the unsung heroes” of his campaign, and said, “We couldn’t have done it without her.” First Lady Michelle Obama has said that if Robinson had not been available to step in and watch over the girls, Obama might never have launched his campaign.
While holding no official job title, Mrs. Robinson likely qualified for her lifetime pension under the “optional” eligibility requirement for the Civil Service Retirement Act