Biden (Riccardo De Luca/AP)Joe Biden is a landlord to the Secret Service.
The Washington Times reports that Biden has collected $13,200 from the Secret Service since April to rent a cottage adjacent to his Wilmington, Del., home and continues to charge the agency rent. The Secret Service has agreed to pay $2,200 per month for use of the house in order to provide security to the Biden family, according to Edwin M. Donovan, special agent in charge at the Secret Service's Office of Government and Public Affairs in Washington.
(By the way, that's no discount on the rent--the Times reports that's the amount paid by the previous tenant.)
Some of the watchdog types interviewed by the Times questioned whether the agreement is appropriate, especially given Biden's deficit reduction leadership role. Leslie Paige, spokeswoman for Citizens Against Government Waste, said there's no question Biden deserves protection, "but this arrangement seems bizarre to me."
"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."
The agency says it is a unique situation. "We don't pay rent to any other protectees," Donovan told The Ticket, but he added that the agency had wanted to be in close proximity to the vice president's house. Officials had been renting other properties in the area when Biden's cottage tenant moved out. So, the Secret Service reached out.
"The cottage was an existing rental property at the time the Secret Service signed its lease," Kendra Barkoff, press secretary for the vice president, informed the newspaper and wrote in an email to The Ticket.
Do we sense an Onion spoof in the making?
UPDATE 6:00PM EST: Story updated to add attribution to Edwin M. Donovan and statement from Kendra Barkoff.
UPDATE 6:25PM EST: Story updated to include Donovan's comments to The Ticket.