Maryland, Virginia each pay $100k for governor's traveling security detail

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Local,Maryland,Virginia,Rachel Baye

State Police forces in both Maryland and Virginia each spent roughly $100,000 protecting the states' governors on out-of-state trips this year.

The Maryland State Police's Executive Protection Unit spent $98,460 on hotels, meals, rental cars, travel expenses and overtime pay while accompanying Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley on 26 out-of-state trips between January and mid-September, the Maryland State Police reported in information shared with The Washington Examiner.

The agency, which protects the governor around the clock, would not provide the specifics regarding how many state troopers accompanied the governor on specific trips, nor could they offer a list of the trips taken. O'Malley stopped in 19 states during the eight-and-a-half-month span, according to The Baltimore Sun, which first reported the cost of the police protection.

The Virginia State Police's Executive Protection Unit spent $105,948 on meals, hotels and other travel expenses between January and October protecting Gov. Bob McDonnell, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Monday. The costs associated with each trip ranged from $34 for a trip to Raleigh, N.C., to $3,180.71 for a trip to Washington, the Richmond paper reported.

A representative from the Virginia State Police could not be reached for comment.

Both governors are widely assumed to be seeking higher office, though neither has confirmed the rumors.

However, the costs of sending McDonnell's security detail on trips that were political in nature were reimbursed, according to McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin, unlike those incurred while O'Malley traveled on business as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association or to out-of-state political fundraisers.

Opportunity Virginia Political Action Committee paid for gas, and when McDonnell took a commercial flight, the PAC, a state party or the sponsoring candidate's campaign paid for the state troopers' travel, Martin said. The same groups also paid for food and lodging.

This policy was implemented after then-Gov. Tim Kaine came under fire for trips related to his involvement with the Democratic National Committee.

Still, the vast majority of the Virginia unit's costs -- roughly $80,000 -- did not come from political trips but from international economic development trips to Europe and Canada. O'Malley, on the other hand, did not take any international economic development trips through early September of this year, though he did take two last year: to India in November and Southeast Asia in May.

Like Maryland, Virginia pays for any overtime pay that troopers accrue while protecting the governor, no matter where he is, and both states also pay for security details to accompany their chief executives on family vacations and other personal trips.

rbaye@washingtonexaminer.com

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