It’s no wonder democrats thought that Hillary Clinton had the 2016 presidential election in the bag, she exercised so much influence in government already that nobody even dared to question the orders of her lieutenants.
When a lawyer representing the Hillary for America Committee put the squeeze on Secret Service accountants to ignore government spending laws, nobody checked to see if it was legal. Asking awkward questions about the Clintons’ affairs can be bad for your career, or worse.
The money-grubbing Clinton attorney emailed an order to write bigger checks for airfare on chartered jets in June of 2015. So, Secret Service officials wrote the bigger checks.
The Secret Service is in charge of protecting the President and other top officials. Presidential campaign candidates are also provided with security.
Taxpayers pick up the tab. When agents are required to travel as part of a candidate’s campaign, the committee gets reimbursed for the price of the airplane seat.
Since 1977, the law gave the Secret Service two ways to calculate the reimbursement, either the cost of “the lowest priced first-class seat available for the given route,” or “a ‘pro rata’ rate calculated by dividing the cost of the chartered flight by the number of passengers.”
The agency is required to run both calculations then write the check for the lower number. The frugality is to limit the burden on taxpayers.
Clinton’s campaign attorney had a different idea. Just write the check for the pro rata amount every time, even if flying first-class would be cheaper.
“The Secret Service ceased to adhere to its longstanding reimbursement policy and agency officials were directed to use the pro rata calculation method for reimbursing all campaigns for agent airfares,” the GAO reports. Nobody bothered to confirm they had the authority to do that.
Four of the 2016 candidates benefited proportionally because the same pro rata payment calculation was used to pay each of the campaigns. Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Ben Carson were all similarly billed.
Out of 1,671 plane rides, the government overpaid on 650 of them. The total of all overpayments adds up to nearly $4 million dollars. The report didn’t break the numbers down as to who benefited the most, but that isn’t the point.
The point is that Secret Service accountants took direct orders from Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Clinton’s influence buried the bribery and money laundering scheme at the heart of the Uranium One deal, proving she likewise had the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in her pocket all the way back in 2010.
The report from Inspector General Michael Horowitz, already released in draft to top lawmakers, is expected to show how Hillary Clinton further used her power over the FBI to diffuse the secret email server scandal just before the election.
In March of 2016 someone at the Secret Service “discovered their error” in overpaying for travel. It was more a case of a supervisor looking over reports and noticing all the pro rata payments but zero first-class rate checks, and asking how the heck that happened.
When the discrepancy came to light it was “the busiest travel season for the candidates,” so the Secret Service decided to continue the practice, knowing it was wrong. According to the GAO report, the agency “did not ensure the agency reverted to its longstanding policy.”
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) points out that all of that money is desperately needed in other ways.
“The money that the agency needlessly and erroneously paid the campaigns is sorely needed to help fund critical Secret Service activities that have faced recent budget cuts, including investigations into cyber and financial crimes.”
In other words, money was taken away from investigating Hillary Clinton for criminal cyber and financial crimes, just to add more money to her campaign war chest.
The Secret Service promises to “review their reimbursements and calculate how much they overpaid.” Once they figure out how much each candidate’s share is, they will send an invoice. Whether the invoices actually get paid is a different story.
The Hillary for America Committee only has $1 million left in the bank, their latest Federal Elections Commission filing indicates. Ben Carson will also be on the hook for some travel expense reimbursement. His campaign has less than half a million dollars.
Thompson was the one who requested the GAO to look into the issue after he got wind of what shenanigans had transpired. “It was unacceptable that the Secret Service overpaid for its travel expenses by nearly $4 million,” he noted Thursday.
“Worse yet, they did not fix the error when it was discovered months before the election. Proper stewardship of Secret Service travel expenses is critical as they are paid by the American taxpayer, not the campaigns.”