President Donald Trump's fiscal 2020 budget proposal seeks $2.3 billion to fund the U.S. Secret Service, an increase of 7 percent over the estimated spending for 2019 and some 15 percent above actual spending for 2018, according to budget documents released this week.
Much of the extra money in discretionary budget authority would go to protecting presidential candidates during the 2020 campaign and for the two national political conventions, plus hiring more agents, and more money for research and development and "protective equipment and technology."
The budget summary issued by the White House last week says it seeks to hire 177 additional special agents, officers, and professional staff for the agency. But the budget detail released this week says that overall Secret Service full-time equivalent employees will rise by 313 employees, jumping from 7,334 in the 2019 budget to 7,647 in the 2020 budget. That's a four percent increase year over year, and a 10 percent increase over the 6,934 full time equivalent employees the service had in fiscal 2018.
The Secret Service is responsible for protecting the president, vice president and their family members, as well as foreign leaders who are visiting the U.S. The agency is also responsible for investigating financial crimes and telecommunications fraud.
Some $126.7 million extra in the budget will go for the 2020 presidential campaign, including the protection of major candidates, nominees, their spouses, and nominating conventions.
"The Secret Service mission continues to grow both in size and complexity – increasingly sophisticated financial cybercrimes, evolving weapon technology, and more demanding presidential campaigns all require more of the Secret Service workforce in both skillset and quantity," the budget summary stated.
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The service makes up 3 percent of the Department of Homeland Security's overall budget.
Other highlights in the Secret Services budget include $31.6 million for armored vehicles and $4.7 million for renovations at the agency's training center in Maryland.
There have been problems in the past with the Secret Service overpaying the presidential campaigns in reimbursements for travel costs for agents who accompanied candidates and their families.
The Government Accountability Office issued a report last year that found that the 2016 presidential campaign committees of President Donald Trump, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders owed a total of $3.9 million to the Secret Service after the agency overpaid the campaigns in reimbursements.
GAO investigators found the Secret Service committed numerous errors documenting lodging bills and calculating travel reimbursement amounts.