Federal marshals are protecting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at a cost to her agency of nearly $8 million over nearly eight months, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
The Education Department has agreed to reimburse the marshals $7.78 million for their services from mid-February to the end of September, said a marshals spokeswoman — an average of about $1 million per month.
Marshals will continue providing security for the education secretary for the next four years, or until either agency decides to terminate the arrangement, under an agreement signed last week. There was no information immediately available about what that would cost beyond September.
While the department is spending the additional money on DeVos’s security, members of the in-house security team that guarded previous secretaries remain on the payroll. But they are not guarding DeVos and have not been assigned new duties, said a department employee who was not authorized to speak to a reporter and asked for anonymity.
A department spokesman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said he could not comment on personnel decisions. He said the agency deferred to the federal marshals’ threat assessment and determination about what would be necessary to keep the secretary safe and able to do her job.
The spokesman disputed the $1 million estimate for a monthly average, saying that the contract with the marshals includes one-time fixed costs. Recurring monthly costs are lower, he said, without giving more specifics. The spokesman also said that the $7.78 million is a projected maximum reimbursement and that the final cost could be less.
The new outlay is a tiny fraction of the department’s budget, but comes as the Trump administration has proposed slashing the spending plan by $9 billion, or 13.5 percent.
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