Rules Every President Is Supposed To Follow After Leaving Office

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Vote up the most surprising rules.

American elected officials have to follow specific standards, and even the rules for former presidents are strict. Some policies ensure the safety of former presidents; others maintain a level of governmental transparency and diplomacy.

Many of the things ex-presidents do are rooted in historical necessity. For instance, when Harry Truman left office in 1953, he and former First Lady Bess Truman were penniless. Lawmakers passed the Former Presidents Act in 1958 to provide for Truman and every POTUS after him. Since then, the act has been revised to include additional guidelines, serving as a rubric for every former commander-in-chief.

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  • They Can't Drive On Open Roads
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    2,869 VOTES

    They Can't Drive On Open Roads

    After the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, the presidential security detail changed significantly. To ensure their safety, current and former American presidents aren't allowed to drive on open roads. This rule has been on the books since Lyndon Johnson left office, but in 2017, George W. Bush made the fact public when he told Jay Leno.

    Even vice presidents must follow the no-driving rule. In 2014, Joe Biden mentioned, "There are a lot of reasons to run for president, but there's one overwhelming reason not to run for president. I like to get that [Corvette] Z06 from zero to 60 in 3.4 seconds."

    2,869 votes
  • They Can Stay In The Presidential Townhouse
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    2,363 VOTES

    They Can Stay In The Presidential Townhouse

    The Presidential Townhouse is adjacent to the White House. In 1969, Richard Nixon designated it as the official lodging for former presidents visiting Washington, DC. The home has five stories, several bedrooms, two dining rooms, and accommodations for the Secret Service. 

    support fund covers the cost of maintaining the townhouse.

    2,363 votes
  • They're Encouraged To Travel
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    2,568 VOTES

    They're Encouraged To Travel

    Former presidents still have civic duties to uphold after their time in office. Namely, they're supposed to travel. To encourage ex-presidents to continue serving as goodwill ambassadors for the nation, the government offers them a $1 million annual travel budget.

    Presidential spouses receive $500,000 in yearly travel allowances. Former presidents also have diplomatic passports for life, allowing them to bypass the hassle of obtaining visas for different countries.

    2,568 votes
  • They Receive National Security Briefings
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    2,484 VOTES

    They Receive National Security Briefings

    Former presidents still receive national security briefings, although they aren't given updates as often as the sitting POTUS. This allows ex-presidents to advise members of Congress and the current commander-in-chief in times of national crisis.

    Bill Clinton declined security briefings when his wife Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. He wanted to comment more freely on national and international issues.

    2,484 votes
  • They Receive A Transition Stipend After Leaving Office
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    1,988 VOTES

    They Receive A Transition Stipend After Leaving Office

    For six months after the end of their presidential term, former heads of state receive funding for business affairs and government matters. The money is supposed to help with the transition process, and even presidents who resign are given this stipend.

    1,988 votes
  • They Must Establish A Presidential Library
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    2,129 VOTES

    They Must Establish A Presidential Library

    Passed in 1955, the Presidential Libraries Act encourages former presidents to donate their presidential papers and any other historical materials to establish an official library. Their actions are supposed to be a public service for the nation.

    Presidents typically open their libraries to the public, and many choose to be buried on the premises.

    2,129 votes