Secret Service overpaid about $4 million for 2016 presidential campaign flights – The Denver Post

WASHINGTON — The Secret Service spent about $4 million too much for seats on campaign planes during the 2016 presidential election after misinterpreting the rules for calculating fares, according to a congressional watchdog report.

The Secret Service spent $17.1 million to include agents on flights chartered by the campaigns of Republicans Donald Trump and Ben Carson, and Democratic candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

The Government Accountability Office report, released Wednesday, said the Secret Service was supposed to pay the lower of two options: the lowest commercially available first-class airfare or the proportional cost of the agent’s seat based on the total price of the charter. Instead, they paid the campaigns based only on the second option.

The watchdog agency examined 650 of the more than 2,300 flights taken by agents during the 2016 campaign. The $3.9 million was an estimate for all campaigns — the agency did not break the estimated overpayment down by campaigns. Overall, the Secret Service reimbursed Trump’s campaign $7.3 million for flights, including for running mate Mike Pence and others. Clinton’s campaign received $7.1 million for flights, including for running mate Tim Kaine. Sanders was reimbursed $2 million and Carson $615,567.

The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Secret Service, said it would determine the specific overpayment and seek refunds from the campaigns.

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