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Gingrich Won’t Leave Race, or Costly Secret Service Protection

topic posted Sat, April 21, 2012 - 8:43 AM by  B
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As long as Newt Gingrich stays in the presidential race, he is still receiving Secret Service protection — at a cost of more than $40,000 a day.

Yet, Mr. Gingrich also employs a private security firm, whose bills he has not paid. According to new financial disclosure reports, Mr. Gingrich’s campaign is awash in red ink, with a debt of $4.3 million as of the end of March. He owes a Virginia-based private security firm almost $450,000.

It is not clear why Mr. Gingrich feels he needs protection provided by both the private firm and the Secret Service.
Mr. Gingrich has no intention of dropping out of the race or of asking the Secret Service to drop its detail, his campaign spokesman said on Friday, despite calls from a taxpayer group that the protection is a waste of money.

The issue bubbled up this week after The Daily Caller, an online news site, dug up Congressional testimony from 2008 in which Mark Sullivan, director of the Secret Service, estimated the cost of daily protection for a presidential candidate at $38,000. He said then that he expected the cost to rise to $44,000 a day.

The Daily Caller sought comment from a taxpayer group, the Taxpayer Protection Alliance, which said Mr. Gingrich, a former speaker of the House, should recognize the importance of saving money.

David Williams, president of the year-old Taxpayer Protection Alliance, reaffirmed that view in an interview on Friday.

“We really don’t begrudge a presidential candidate having security,” he said. “But even Gingrich is referring to his campaign in the past tense. Why not end the taxpayer expense that goes with it?”

He said the amount the protection costs per day is more than some people make in a year.

R.C. Hammond, a spokesman for Mr. Gingrich, said in an interview Friday that Mr. Gingrich intended to stay in the race and keep the protection. The same threats that prompted Mr. Gingrich to seek protection this year — and which the Department of Homeland Security recognized in granting him protection — still exist, Mr. Hammond said. And, he said, issues of security should be decided by security experts, not tax experts.

“He’s still a candidate,” Mr. Hammond said. “The nomination is not over.”

thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012...tion/
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