Jacob Heilbrunn

Why Is Joe Biden Charging the Secret Service Rent?

Vice president Joe Biden is shaking down the Secret Service for rent money. $2,200 a month, to be precise. It seems that Biden has a small cottage on his beachside property in Greenville, Delaware. His mom used to live there. Now he's charging the Secret Service, which is protecting him, rent to live in it.

The story comes via the vigilant Andrew Malcolm of the Los Angeles Times, who in turn saw it via the Washington Times. According to Malcolm,

The vice president's already been paid $13,200 so far this year and the contract looks to pay him $66,000 into 2013.

We are learning about this sweetheart arrangement now because eagle-eyed Jim McElhatton over at the Washington Times noticed a Joseph R. Biden listed as a vendor on a federal purchase order. And the reporter wondered if this was the same guy who's so vociferously denounced government waste and no-bid contracts over the years.

The same Democrat who in June helped launch an Obama administration anti-waste campaign by saying: "The President and I are committed to changing the way government works and we are stepping up the hunt for misspent dollars."

Biden would presumably argue that he's just charging the Secret Service what he would any renter. But vacancy rates are slightly over 36 percent in Greenville—it's nice for Biden to have essentially a captive renter when it's not easy to find one in this economic downturn. This little episode shows that Biden doesn't miss a trick. He could easily afford to spare the government the extra costs incurred for keeping him safe and sound. This is the man who, essentially, negotiated the debt deal and who allegedly referred to the Tea Party legislators as "terrorists" holding up the government. Biden knows whereof he speaks.