Paying for protection: Security bill skyrocketing as Gov. Inslee's Presidential hopes dim

As Gov. Jay Inslee's presidential aspirations seem to be waning, the cost to state taxpayers to pay for his campaign security continues to skyrocket.

Washington State law orders Governor Inslee's Executive Protection Unit of state troopers to escort and protect him everywhere he goes.

And while his polling numbers continue to wane, the security bill and travel expenses for thousands of hours of travel are adding up to staggering levels, and taxpayers could end up spending more than $2 million, because no law compels Inslee's campaign to pay it back.

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At the beginning of Inslee's campaign, his protection unit was deemed too small to keep up with the cross-country travel, so it was forced to expand from eight troopers and a sergeant, to 14 troopers--two sergeants and one lieutenant.

One hour of overtime for one of those troopers averages about $72 per hour, according to documents obtained by KIRO-7 from the Washington State Patrol.

In the month of March alone, WSP troopers worked 1,066 hours of overtime protecting Governor Inslee, and that overtime bill was nearly $82,000.

From March until June, the overtime tab paid by taxpayers was $267,915.

Early in Inslee's campaign, Republican lawmakers objected to the expense.

"I think at the very least, the citizens of this state should not have to pay for his state patrol executive security detail for his campaign," said Sen. Mark Schoesler
(R) 9th District.

Several lawmakers attempted to wedge an amendment in the state budget to force the Governor to reimburse the state.

"It should be his responsibility when he's out campaigning, to pay the cost of his campaign, said Rep. Ed Orcutt (R) Kalama. But the amendment was voted down.

According to WSP, overtime for Inslee's EPU (Executive Protection Unit) since his presidential campaign announcement:

Month           OT Hours   Amount
Mar-19          1,065.98   $81,979.82 
Apr-19           696.25      $53,198.40 
May-19          791.00      $56,326.23 
Jun-19           939.42      $76,411.05

Out of state travel costs (airfare, hotels)for EPU since presidential campaign announcement:

March 2019                    $21,664
April 2019                       $84,580
May 2019                       $78,495
June 2019                      $127,985
------------------------------------------------
Total                                $312,724

Totals are still being calculated by WSP for July.

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