SEATTLE — The Washington State Patrol plans to nearly double the size of Gov. Jay Inslee’s travelling security detail as he runs for president. The cost would be more than $4 million over two years.
The Seattle Times reported that six additional troopers, a sergeant and a lieutenant would be assigned to the Executive Protection Unit. The unit has had eight troopers and one sergeant.
The newly assigned troopers and related spending are expected to increase the unit’s $2.6 million budget by about $1.5 million in the current fiscal year, which runs through June, and by $2.7 million in fiscal year 2020, according to figures provided by the patrol to the newspaper and public radio’s Northwest News Network.
The added costs include salaries and overtime, flights and other travel-related expenses.
The Democrat Inslee announced earlier this year that he was seeking his party’s presidential nomination.
Republicans have said Inslee should reimburse the state so its taxpayers are unaffected.
“The easy way to solve all this is the Inslee for President campaign to cut a check to the state treasurer,” said state Rep. Drew Stokesbary, a Republican. “The state can’t mandate that the campaign pay for it, but the campaign can certainly step up and pay for it.”
Inslee, serving his second term, has declined to offer reimbursement for the Patrol’s security costs from his political campaign, saying all governors are entitled to State Patrol protection, whether on official or political business.
Jamal Raad, an Inslee political spokesman, said last week that position has not changed. However the campaign has started paying the cost of car rentals or use of state vehicles on Inslee’s political trips inside and outside the state, as required by Federal Election Commission (FEC) rules.
Inslee’s campaign boasted it raised more than $1 million a few days after announcing his presidential candidacy. Act Now on Climate, a super PAC supporting him, has already reported spending nearly $1.3 million, according to FEC filings.