A caricature drawing of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
Vice President Joe Biden charges Secret Service agents rent during their detail at his Delaware home. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/DonkeyHotey/Flickr)

In addition to protecting against the counterfeiting of U.S. currency and treasury bonds, the U.S. Secret Service is sworn to protect the lives of current and former national leaders and their families. Sometimes, Secret Service members pay for this with their lives. Now reports indicate that operatives at Vice President Joe Biden’s cottage near Wilmington, Del., also pay rent.

Secret Service paid Biden over $13,000 in rent

The Washington Times notes that the U.S. Secret Service has paid Joe Biden over $13,000 in rent since April 2011. Agents reportedly stay in a cottage that sits adjacent to the Biden family’s waterfront home in a suburb of Wilmington. The government contract will produce up to $66,000 in rental income for Joe Biden before it expires in in fall 2013. Curiously, Biden is not listed as vice president on the purchase order, but as a vendor/sole proprietor, with no employees and no annual rental income specified.

The $2,200 the Secret Service pays in rent to Joe Biden each month is the same amount the previous cottage tenant paid before moving out, said Special Agent Edwin Donovan. As to whether it was typical for the Secret Service to pay rent to the people they’re protecting, Donovan responded matter-of-fact:

“It’s a rental property, so we pay rent there,” Donovan said.

Advocate groups question Biden’s commitment to cutting waste

Taxpayer watchdog groups like the Washington-based Citizens Against Government Waste have questioned whether Joe Biden should be charging Secret Service rent in the first place, considering that the agency at the cottage is performing its very dangerous, federally mandated duty.

“He should be afforded every protection,” said Citizens Against Government Waste spokeswoman Leslie Paige. “But this arrangement seems bizarre, (considering Biden) shepherded the deficit committee.”

Secret Service asked to rent the cottage

After Joe Biden’s private tenant moved out, the Secret Service reportedly approached the vice president about renting the Delaware cottage. The agency signed a lease and has continued to make payments, said Biden spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff.

According to the Bidens’ tax return, they earned $11,000 in rental income from the cottage in 2010. No rental income was declared in 2009, when Joe Biden’s mother lived there before her 2010 death.

‘Stepping up the hunt for misspent dollars’

President Obama and Vice President Biden launched the “Campaign to Cut Waste” in June. Biden spoke of the new task force’s mission before the White House press corps:

“The President and I are committed to changing the way government works, and we are stepping up the hunt for misspent dollars,” Biden said.

A provision of the Campaign to Cut Waste is that federal contracts over $25,000 require bidding. This has prompted critics to question how the Secret Service paying Biden rent can escape such channels, but as Pete Sepp of the National Taxpayers Union points out, the Bidens used a legal loophole that circumvents the bidding requirement.

They could have used Joe Biden’s rent money

Sources

FOX News: http://fxn.ws/qqNRza

The Telegraph: http://tgr.ph/qqCyOx

U.S. Secret Service: http://www.secretservice.gov/

The Washington Times: http://bit.ly/nVj4nB

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