AUSTIN, Texas—The state’s bill for providing security for Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential bid is nearly $800,000 and growing.
A Texas Department of Public Safety report released Thursday showed the cost of travel expenses for the security detail for Perry and his wife, Anita, was $798,031 from September through part of November.
The San Antonio Express News reports that most of that bill was for out-of-state trips and the security tab for travel outside Texas was more than $1.1 million from Perry’s November 2010 re-election to this November.
Remaining security detail costs to the end of Perry’s presidential campaign last week will be in future DPS reports.
Democrats have called for the GOP governor to reimburse the state, but A Perry spokeswoman said Monday that it wasn’t the governor’s decision to have a security detail out on the campaign trail — it was the Department of Public Safety’s. And she said “not a dime” of Perry’s own travel expenses were paid by taxpayers.
“The Department of Public Safety has a policy of providing security for governors and their families everywhere they travel, as they have back several administrations,” said Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed. “These policies are determined by DPS and not the governor’s office. It’s unfortunate that we live in a day and age where security is an issue.”
Nashed’s response followed a letter that state Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, the leader of the House Democrats, sent to the governor’s office Monday, asking him to repay the $2.6 million the state spent on his security detail between August, when Perry entered the GOP presidential race, and last week, when he dropped out days before the South Carolina primary.
“One way to protect taxpayers’ money is by not spending it unnecessarily,” Farrar wrote. “But, if someone discovers tax dollars have been spent unnecessarily, it should be reimbursed either to general revenue or directly to taxpayers.”
The governor’s office offered a sarcasm-laced response to Farrar, known for her ardent support of federal health initiatives. “We’re encouraged to see Rep. Farrar wanting to join the ranks of fiscal conservatives in Texas,” Nashed said, “and look forward to her joining our efforts to persuade Congress and President Obama to repeal the fiscally irresponsible mandates of Obamacare.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.