The U.S. Secret Service does more than protect Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. — the agency also pays him rent.
Since April, Mr. Biden has collected more than $13,000 from the agency charged with protecting him and his family for use of a rental cottage adjacent to the waterfront home he owns in a Wilmington, Del., suburb.
Mr. Biden, listed not as vice president in federal purchasing documents but as a “vendor,” is eligible for up to $66,000 by the time the government contract expires in the fall of 2013, the records show.
Officials say the arrangement came about when a previous tenant moved out of the cottage and the Secret Service moved in.
Edwin M. Donovan, special agent in charge at the Secret Service's Office of Government and Public Affairs in Washington, said the agency pays $2,200 in rent per-month, the same amount a previous tenant had paid before moving out.
He said the close location provides a level of security for the Biden family the agency might not have had otherwise. Asked if the Secret Service typically pays rent to the people it protects, he said, “It’s a rental property so we pay rent there.”
Taxpayer watchdogs say the Secret Service should do everything it can to protect Mr. Biden, but they wonder whether he should be collecting rent from the agency while it’s doing its job.
“He should be afforded every single protection available to him and his family, as should every vice president and president,” said Leslie Paige, spokeswoman for the Washington-based Citizens Against Government Waste.
“But this arrangement seems bizarre to me,” she added. “You’d think the vice president, who shepherded the deficit committee, would think twice about charging the Secret Service rent. Why would he need the money? I don’t get it.”