Although the President does receive a salary, the first lady does not. However, running the White House costs money - - so the first lady does get a budget. On November 2, 1978, President Jimmy Carter approved public law 95-570, giving first ladies a budget and staff for the purpose of running the White House [source: American Presidency Project]. Before 1978, however, a first lady had to look to the federal budget, or various Washington departments, for money to pay expenses, such as a secretary's salary or the cost of a social or political event. Historians note that some early first ladies had to ask friends, family and White House officials to help finance social events.
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