Maryland paid more than $5,600 to send a security detail when Gov. Martin O'Malley traveled to New Orleans to watch the Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl.
The Maryland State Police say $5,627 was spent on airfare, meals, vehicles, hotels and overtime for O'Malley's Executive Protection Unit during the governor's trip, according to spokesman Greg Shipley. The agency did not say how much was spent on each, because disclosing the number of troopers on the detail would jeopardize security, Shipley said.
That figure does not include the price of game tickets for all but one member of the security detail.
Advocates who have fought against tax increases under O'Malley's administration -- including a new wholesale tax on gasoline passed during the recent legislative session -- say the expenditure shows that O'Malley is out of touch with average Marylanders.
"This is just further evidence that the governor lives in a bubble, unlike the rest of Marylanders, who don't get driven to sporting events, don't have security details and don't appear on cable TV shows wearing sports jerseys while purporting to talk about policy," said Jim Pettit, a spokesman for conservative activist group Change Maryland.
"Asking Marylanders to pay for gasoline taxes, offshore wind, rain taxes and mass transit while taxpayers foot the bill for his protection and comfort sends a 'let them eat cake' message to struggling Marylanders expected to pay for all this."
O'Malley spokeswoman Raquel Guillory said no taxpayer money was spent on O'Malley's trip, including transportation, meals, lodging and his game tickets. O'Malley and his wife, Baltimore District Judge Catherine Curran O'Malley, used their own money to buy their tickets.
An NFL spokesman would not comment on O'Malley's situation but said the general policy is to allow one credentialed security personnel in for free. Shipley said he was unsure who paid for the detail's tickets.
Shipley said it is common for security to accompany O'Malley whenever he leaves the state.
"We provide around-the-clock protection for the governor of Maryland," he said. "[Traveling with him] is not an uncommon thing. That's for any governor, not just this one."