If you've read enough history, you'd know Washington spent most of his own liquid wealth during the War. The Continental Congress was such a dysfunctional, political bunch of theives (still carrying on that tradition today), that they almost lost the Revolutionary War.
Now, if you're complaining about Washington asking for some reimbursement, it makes you seem petty. Yes, $40K was a lot of money then, but how do you put a price tag on such a great leader?
I'll bet the combined salaries of the military personell, WH camera crews, Secret Service, paperwork, ad infinitum, that went into Mrs. Obama's appearence on the Academy Awards was at least $400K. And what good did that do for the country?