House Republicans want the governor to pay back state funds that were spent on his security detail while traveling out of state, arguing that taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for his political endeavors.
Media reports earlier this month showed that state police spent more than $100,000 on travel costs for Gov. Martin O’Malley’s security detail during the first nine months of 2012, including trips where he was acting as chair of the Democratic Governors Association.
House Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell (R-Dist. 29C) of Lusby and House Minority Whip Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio (R-Dist. 37B) of Newcomb wrote in a joint letter Tuesday that the expense “does not send the right message to the citizens of Maryland.”
While the amount may be small compared to the $638 million structural deficit the state is facing, asking taxpayers to cover the costs is “inappropriate, particularly in these austere fiscal times,” the GOP leaders wrote.
O’Malley’s spokeswoman, Raquel Guillory, could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday evening, but told The Washington Post earlier that state police were acting on established policy to protect the governor no matter what he’s doing.
In the letter, GOP leaders acknowledged O’Malley’s need for protection, but said the cost should be paid by DGA or by his campaign.
O’Malley was a campaign surrogate for President Barack Obama during his re-election campaign, and recently stepped down after his second year as DGA chair. He is widely believed to be eyeing a run at the White House in 2016.