Gov't spent nearly $3.7M on ex-presidents in 2012

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FILE - In this Dec. 26, 2008 file photo, President George W. Bush walks with his father, former President George H.W. Bush, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. A criminal investigation is under way after a hacker apparently accessed private photos and emails sent between members of the Bush family, including both former presidents, the Houston Chronicle first reported Friday, Feb. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. taxpayers are spending a lot on their former presidents.

The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service is reporting the tab was up to nearly $3.7 million last year.

That covers a pension, compensation and benefits for office staff. The government also picks up the tab for other costs like travel, office space and postage.

Former President George W. Bush cost the most last year at just over $1.3 million. Bill Clinton came in second at just under $1 million, followed by George H.W. Bush at nearly $850,000.

The total is about $200,000 less than in 2011, and the sum in 2010 was even higher. It doesn't include what the Secret Service spends protecting the former presidents and their families. Those costs are part of a separate budget that isn't made public.