- Nov 10, 2006
Former president Donald Trump charged the Secret Service more than $40,000 this spring for rooms that Trump’s own protective detail used while guarding him at his Mar-a-Lago Club, according to federal spending records.
The records show that Trump’s club charged the Secret Service $396.15 every night starting Jan. 20, the day he left the White House and moved full-time into his Palm Beach, Fla., club.
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Those charges, ultimately paid by taxpayers, continued until at least April 30, the spending records show, for a total of $40,011.15. The charges were for a single room used as a workspace by Secret Service agents, according to one person familiar with the payments.
While he was president, Trump’s properties charged the U.S. government more than $2.5 million, often so that Secret Service agents could use rooms near him.
The Trump Organization did not respond to requests for comment. Trump’s post-presidential office and the Secret Service both declined to comment.
The rate Trump billed the Secret Service at his Florida resort is the same as the $396.15-per-room rate he charged as president.
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Former presidents get Secret Service protection for life. But last year The Washington Post spoke to historians and representatives for recent presidents and could not find another example of a president charging the Secret Service rent on this scale.
Historians said they were surprised Trump was still charging the Secret Service, considering that ex-presidents are entitled to an array of other taxpayer-funded benefits, including paid staff and a $219,000-per-year pension.
Since fall 2017, Mar-a-Lago has charged the agency the same rate of $396.15 per night. On its invoices to the Secret Service, Mar-a-Lago wrote that this rate was “billed at cost.” The Trump Organization has not explained how it chose that rate, down to the penny.
The figure is far above the $205 spending limit that has applied to most government employees looking for rooms in Palm Beach County this spring. The Secret Service is allowed to spend more than the limit if its protective mission requires.