Betsy Devos's Security Detail Will Cost Taxpayers More than $14 Million Over 2 Years

An around the clock security detail doesn't come cheap—even if you're a Trump-appointed official who runs the Department of Education.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's security detail for the fiscal year 2019, which will run from Monday through the end of September 2019, will cost American taxpayers up to $7.74 million. The cost, first reported by Politico, was later confirmed to Newsweek by U.S. Marshals Service spokesperson Nikki Credic-Barrett.

The final price tag could, however, end up costing more based on the previous year. The Education Department predicted it would spend up to $6.54 million in the 2018 fiscal year for DeVos's around the clock security detail, but ended up spending $6.79 million. Prior to that for fiscal year 2017, the U.S. Marshals Service said security costs for DeVos totaled $5.28 million.

DeVos's use of U.S. marshals for security detail breaks from department norm and from her previous four predecessors, who all used the small security team supplied by the Education Department itself. The U.S. Marshal Service typically protects people like federal judges and witnesses, transports prisoners and captures fugitives. DeVos's increased security detail was originally ordered by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and began in February 2017.

Since then, the Trump administration has shown interest in having U.S. Marshals make up more of its security detail for "certain civilian executive branch agencies." This, the White House Office of Management and Budget told CNN in June, would allow the U.S. Marshal Service to "more effectively and efficiently monitor and respond to potential threats. Threat assessments would be conducted with support from the U.S. Secret Service," the plan added.

When asked about the increased price tag and the need for around the clock security, the Education Department told Newsweek the "level of protection is assessed regularly and commensurate to the threat level." Citing "operational security reasons," the department would not provide more specifics.

For an agency that the president had in the past advocated to cut drastically, and at times outright eliminate, such an increase in security costs over the past few years goes against President Donald Trump's narrative to reduce government spending. In Trump's February proposed budget, he suggested slashing the Education Department's funding by $3.7 billion, or a little more than 5 percent while pumping $1.6 billion into private and other school choice programs. DeVos has been a longtime advocate of charter and private schools.

At the same time he has proposed education cuts, the president has also proposed an $80 billion increase in Defense Department spending—or $10 billion more than the entire Education Department's roughly $70 billion budget.

Update: This article has been updated to include comment from the U.S. Marshals Service and the Department of Education.