Group: 'Wasteful' of taxpayer $$ for Gingrich to keep Secret Service protection
April 20th, 2012
02:51 PM ET
10 years ago

Group: 'Wasteful' of taxpayer $$ for Gingrich to keep Secret Service protection

Washington (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's campaign continued to face outrage and claims of "wasteful spending" of taxpayer money on Friday as the candidate keeps his Secret Service detail, which could cost north of $40,000 per day.

"Newt Gingrich just needs to really do the right thing and do the particularly responsible thing and say, 'Okay, I don't need Secret Service protection anymore,'" David Williams, president of the taxpayers watchdog group Taxpayers Protection Alliance, told CNN.

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Because Gingrich is nearly certain to lose the Republican presidential primary to rival Mitt Romney, Williams' group has urged the former House speaker to give up his protection as a way to save taxpayers' money.

"You know, unfortunately, candidates and politicians love little perks like this. So it's tough to give up these perks," Williams said. "But he has to be realistic and say, 'It's over. The campaign is over…and it's time to make at least a small gesture towards taxpayers and towards the fiscal problems we're in and release the Secret Service from protection.'"

In 2008, Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan told a House committee it cost about $38,000 a day to protect presidential candidates – a number Sullivan expected to rise to $44,000 a day as the campaign waged on with more events and more appearances.

The website The Daily Caller first reported on calls for Gingrich to drop his Secret Service protection.

Gingrich's campaign insisted it will continue to make security decisions based on the advice of experts.

"When it comes to security, we're going to stick with the security experts," Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said.

Hammond was asked if there were still concerns for Gingrich's safety.

"That is usually the reason behind having a security detail," the spokesman responded.

Hammond also took an obvious dig at Williams' group.

"We think tax experts make great tax experts. And we think security experts make great security experts. So if we need tax advice, we'll check in with the tax experts," Hammond said.

CNN pressed Gingrich's spokesman about the substance of the argument: that giving up the Secret Service protection would save taxpayer money.

"I refer them to the very sincere proposal Newt has made to save the government money," Hammond responded. "Starting with Lean Six Sigma right on down to eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency to reforming the Department of Energy."

"It would take five lifetimes of presidential candidates not taking Secret Service protection to equal the same amount of money that Newt has proposed to save in his presidential campaign," Hammond added.

Asked about the cost associated with protecting a presidential candidate, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said the agency does not comment on that type of specific information.

"We don't release it," Leary said.

Leary also stated the Secret Service does not disclose how large a detail Gingrich or any other presidential candidate has.

"We don't comment on initiation of protection. We don't comment when people get protection, when they don't. We don't comment on who has protection," Leary said.

Secret Service Director Sullivan discussed the costs of protecting a presidential candidate in written testimony to a House committee in March.

"Secret Service activities associated with the 2012 presidential campaign have steadily increased in recent weeks," Sullivan is quoted as saying in the testimony.

Sullivan references Herman Cain's exit from the GOP race, (Cain briefly had Service protection), then is quoted as saying:

"Since that time, the Secret Service has assumed protection for two additional presidential candidates: former Governor Mitt Romney and former Senator Rick Santorum. The agency has established strict campaign financial controls in collaboration with the Department's Chief Financial Officer, and will keep the Committee informed of budgetary impacts associated with candidate protection."

Gingrich began receiving Secret Service protection in early March.

"The FY 2013 budget request for the Secret Service includes a total of $58 million for its continued work associated with the 2012 Presidential Campaign," the written testimony quoted Sullivan as saying.

Gingrich is nearly certain to lose the GOP presidential race to Romney. The candidate badly trails in CNN's delegate estimate, 140 to Romney's 659. And though Gingrich has vowed to stay in the race until Romney clinches the 1,144 delegates needed to win, the former House speaker also admitted in a television interview that Romney is "far and away the most likely Republican nominee."

It's for those reasons that Williams believes the candidate should drop his Secret Service detail.

"Right now Newt Gingrich is a de facto non-candidate," Williams said. "I mean, let's be honest here: Romney is on a clear path to the nomination. And Newt Gingrich just needs to really do the right thing."

"Every gesture to the American taxpayer helps," Williams continued. "$15 trillion debt, $1 trillion deficit. Obviously this isn't going to solve any of our financial woes. But people want to see gestures out of their politicians. And this is one very high profile gesture that he could make…and say, let's save the taxpayers a little bit of money."

Also see:

Romney releases March fundraising figures

Paul campaign touts campaign cash

RNC looks to Facebook for political edge

Biden says Democrats have chance in Arizona

Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    And in that picture, Newtered is demonstrating how he pushes someone onto their knees under his desk.

    April 20, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  2. scarf

    Maybe he's using the Secret Service to line up his next extra-marital affair......

    April 20, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  3. DC

    Only Romney should have Secret Service protection. Period. For Gingrich this is a status symbol thing. Nothing more.

    April 20, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    What if he becomes the VP nominee? He could be in negotiations right this minute. Let Newt be the patriot and take himself out of the picture. He's got bills to pay and fund raising still to do.

    April 20, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  5. V in Chicago

    But, but, it would bruise his ego! I can't believe any one is actually threatening Newt. Most of us are laughing at him as his opinions of himself.

    Newt – let the SS Agents go. The only danger you face is egg on your face and they're not going to be able to help you with that one. Here's a napkin. Use it wisely.

    April 20, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  6. Willis

    Yo Speaker Newt, yo, you be bouncin checks havin Secret Service protection at da same time, You need to be bowin out & joining the pledge of EVERYTHING SUCKS & EVERYTHING BLOWS motto of the bishop & call it a day.

    April 20, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  7. The Real Truth and Nothing But the Real Truth

    Definitely time to give up the secret service detail Newt. They should be added to the Romney detail because there are a lot of dangerous delusional lefties out there.

    April 20, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  8. thomas

    Send Newt a bill , just like Tiffany's .

    This man is just one reason why government dosn't work !


    April 20, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  9. Jayan

    Just wondering, cant find any articles like thins when hillary was losing

    April 20, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. darl

    Whats old potato head hanging around for anyway! He was disgraced and washed up 2 decades ago???? Get Lost Newt! Nobody likes you????

    April 20, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. Mark Norris

    You guys are ridiculous. You worry about stuff that means nothing and don't worry about the stuff that means something. Why don't you worry about 5 trillion dollars that Obama has ran up on the national debt? Do you think that these Secret service agents would not be getting paid even if they were not protecting Gingrich? I'm sure that is added into the cost that you are talking about. And for you to presume the race is over before it is really over then that just makes you look stupid.

    April 20, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  12. CB

    If this POS had to foot the bill himself he would be out of the race by now.

    April 20, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  13. Bob

    Newt has always loved his government perks, he isn't about to give them up. He is all about the status symbols.

    April 20, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. rise

    Just a waste of money

    April 20, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  15. Todd C

    Gingrich suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He cannot turn his back on any opportunity to feel important. Here's the checklist of symptoms, Newt exhibits all of these:

    React to criticism with rage, shame, or humiliation
    Take advantage of other people to achieve his or her own goals
    Have excessive feelings of self-importance
    Exaggerate achievements and talents
    Be preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence, or ideal love
    Have unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment
    Need constant attention and admiration
    Disregard the feelings of others, and have little ability to feel empathy
    Have obsessive self-interest
    Pursue mainly selfish goals

    April 20, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  16. Dave

    Nobody REALLY cares about the economy. Sad.

    April 20, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  17. Marie MD

    Of course he doesn't need it nor did ever did but who else is going to go trolling for those "ladies" of the night for him?

    April 20, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  18. Lando

    Attention...Darrell Issa....where are you....
    Issa's reply....nope...he's a Republiban...

    April 20, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  19. BLKMANinAmerica

    WELL really, does he give a darn about "tax payers" $...............................NO he does NOT. Please.................why not drop him from the protection it's like he would ever get the nomination? I know why...................repuks love to WASTE $ that is not theirs.

    April 20, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  20. Bessy

    It just goes to show the arrogance of this man. He doesn't have a chance of winning so he doesn't need Secret Service protection. Let him hire his own body guards and learn to keep his mouth shut and then maybe he wouldn't need them. Typical Republican ! Whole adenda in life is to rip off the tax payer while making it sound as though he he out to help them.

    April 20, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. Hugganoak

    Being a presidential candidate exposes you to certain risks. I'm sure everyone would be remorseful if some incident happened that a secret service detail could have prevented. For his family's peace of mind, and I imagine that of the President as well, Speaker Gingrich should continue to have Secret Service protection until such as time as when he himself has determined it is no longer needed.

    April 20, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |

    Lizard needs to feel special,tax payers don't matter. Make him bounce checks for his protection.

    April 20, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  23. Joe from Ohio

    Think Fox news will report this?? Me thinks....NO

    April 20, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  24. Joi Gibson

    @Sniffit 2:53 p.m.

    I just about spit all over my computer screen. LOL!!!!


    April 20, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  25. Bessy

    @ Jayan
    In 1965, Congress authorized the Secret Service (Public Law 89-186) to protect a former president and their spouse during their lifetime, unless they decline protection. In 1997, Congress enacted legislation (Public Law 103-329) that limits Secret Service protection for former presidents to 10 years after leaving office. Under this new law, individuals who are in office before January 1, 1997, will continue to receive Secret Service protection for their lifetime. Individuals elected to office after that time will receive protection for 10 years after leaving office, unless protection is declined. Therefore, President Clinton will be the last president to receive lifetime protection.
    Do some research before you go opening your mouth.

    April 20, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
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