Secret Service Territory: NYC, Dubai, Mar-a-Lago (And Maybe the White House)

Emma Lazerson, Views Editor

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They were by President Kennedy’s side on Nov. 22, 1963, when he was assassinated.  They arrested 29,000 criminals for counterfeiting, cyber and other financial crimes in 2008, just five years after being transferred to the Department of Homeland Security.  But now, The Secret Service is in dire financial straits.


The Secret Service was not originally established to shield the president from danger. The Treasury Department created it to protect the government from fraud perpetrated by the Ku Klux Klan, illegal distillers, land poachers and mail thieves, according to the official website of the Secret Service.


Since 1865, the organization has broadened its reach to protect the president, his family, the vice president and his family, former presidents and president-elects.


This year, according to Randolph Alles, Secret Service Director, financial problems have been ongoing.


“This issue is not one that can be attributed to the current administration’s protection requirements but, rather, has been an ongoing issue for nearly a decade due to an overall increase in operational tempo,” he said in a statement to CNN.


For the past decade, the Secret Service has exceeded overtime pay caps.  Alles proposed raising their overall salaries from $160,000 per year to $187,000—a sum that would not pay the overtime for 130 agents.


Part of the “tempo” increase does not solely rest in payment: under the Trump administration, they guard 42 people, a jump from 31 under President Obama.


On the campaign trail, Trump condemned Obama for frequent travel under taxpayer dollars, saying in a tweet, “We pay for Obama’s travel so he can fund raise millions so Democrats can run on lies. Then we pay for his golf.”

As of April, Trump’s incurred costs were greater than $20 million, after only 80 days in office, according to CNN.  Trump’s first year spending is liable to surpass eight years of Obama’s expenses.


Much of these costs can be attributed to travel.  Trump owns properties in Florida, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, and other venues around the world.   His children are also regular travelers.  In February, the Washington Post reported how his sons traveled to the United Arab Emirates for the opening of a brand new Trump-golf course in the “Beverly Hills of Dubai.”


The President’s trips are not the only strain on the Secret Service budget.


The Secret Service must safeguard the President’s grandchildren, even at the high price of moving into New York real estate.


According to the New York Times, the average price of a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan is $710,000.  The average cost of a larger apartment is $1.7 million.


A potential conflict arose in March when First Lady Melania Trump and son Barron still resided in Trump Tower.  The Secret Service, by law, is required to aid the president’s family; however, purchasing space in Trump Tower would be funding the Trump Organization with taxpayer dollars.


For the rest of the fiscal year, the Secret Service will be working on fumes and is unlikely to see much of their hard-earned overtime.





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Secret Service Territory: NYC, Dubai, Mar-a-Lago (And Maybe the White House)