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Biden to continue collecting rent from Secret Service
Vice president to get $26,400
Question of the Day
Vice President Joseph R. Biden, the landlord, can count on at least 12 more months of rental income from the agency that protects his life.
Edwin M. Donovan, special agent in charge at the Secret Service's Office of Public Affairs in Washington, said Mr. Biden isn’t receiving all that money at once. Instead, he said, the purchase order shows plans by the Secret Service to pay Mr. Biden $2,200 per month for another year.
In other words, Mr. Biden isn’t raising the rent.
He has been charging the Secret Service that same rate under previous purchases orders, first reported by The Washington Times this past summer, totaling $13,200.
But officials declined to say whether Mr. Biden considered letting agents stay in his cottage free of charge, or even at a reduced rate, following criticisms from taxpayer watchdogs who questioned the arrangement when it became public in July.
Leslie Paige, a spokeswoman for the Citizens Against Government Waste, a watchdog group, said Thursday that Mr. Biden and his family are entitled to all of the protection they get to ensure their safety. But, she said, continuing to charge the Secret Service rent undercuts the image Mr. Biden has sought to cultivate as a cost cutter intent on rooting out waste in government.
“If he’s into the symbolic gestures, this is where he ought to start. He should start literally in his own backyard,” Ms. Paige said. “Let’s hear his rationale for why he can’t forgo this $26,000.”
Pete Sepp, vice president of the National Taxpayers Union, told The Times this past summer that Mr. Biden ought to consider donating the rent he is collecting from the Secret Service to pay down the national debt, but there has been no word on whether Mr. Biden has considered that idea.
“In addition to soliciting ideas from federal employees, I’ve also tasked Vice President Biden to work with the secretaries of all of our agencies to identify some systematic areas of potential improvement — travel, transportation, IT services — all of which we know can potentially save billions of dollars,” Mr. Obama said.
“And in September, Joe convened the Cabinet and has really pushed them hard in finding savings across all of our agencies.”
When first questioned about collecting rent from the Secret Service this past summer, officials could not provide another example of anyone protected by the Secret Service charging rent. In fact, in a follow-up story about the arrangement, Mr. Biden’s own hometown newspaper, the News Journal, reported that Mr. Biden was the first official guarded by the Secret Service to receive rental income as a landlord for the agents who protect him.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Jim McElhatton is an investigative reporter for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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