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May 31, 2018

Report: Secret Service Overpaid Millions to Presidential Campaigns for Travel Expenses

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement on a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report he requested on U.S. Secret Service travel cost reimbursement during the 2016 presidential campaign cycle. The report, titled “Presidential Campaign: Actions Needed to Address U.S. Secret Service Overpayments for Travel Costs” found that of the $17.1 million the Secret Service reimbursed to the campaigns for agent travel on charter flights, at least $3.9 was overpaid.  Overpayment was due to the Secret Service not following its longstanding policy of paying the lowest possible rate.  GAO recommends the Secret Service determine how much it overpaid and collect these debts from the campaigns. 

“It is unacceptable the Secret Service overpaid millions in travel expenses to the campaign committees during the 2016 presidential election cycle. Worse yet, they did not fix the error when it was discovered months before the election.  Proper stewardship of Secret Service travel expenses is critical as they are paid by the American taxpayer – not the campaigns.”

“Under the Trump Administration, the Secret Service has consistently faced budget shortfalls as it protects the extended Trump family on its exorbitant trips around the world. The money that the agency needlessly and erroneously paid the campaigns is sorely needed to help fund critical Secret Service activities that have faced recent budget cuts – including investigations into cyber and financial crimes.”

“It is imperative that the Secret Service collects these overpayments from the campaigns, as is required, and makes sure there is a system in place to ensure payments are proper going forward. Further, I remain concerned that President Trump continues to profit off the Secret Service and the American taxpayer, as payments for agents’ travel costs are transferred from federal coffers to his campaign and eventually to entities in the Trump Organization. The Trump Administration and Congress must address the blatant conflicts of interest and corruption caused by the President’s refusal to divest his business interests and disclose his tax returns.”

Link to Report (GAO-18-419)

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Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978