The Maryland State Police spent nearly $100,000 on out-of-state travel to provide executive protection services for the politically ambitious Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) during the first nine months of the year, according to state officials.
The 26 trips included many in which O’Malley traveled in his capacity as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association or to raise out-of-state money for Maryland ballot measures on same-sex sex marriage and immigrant tuition rates.
While other organizations typically picked up the cost of O’Malley’s travel when he wasn’t on state business, most of the expenses incurred by the troopers were paid for by the state in keeping with a long-standing policy in Maryland, aides said.
“He’s the governor wherever he goes, so that cost is picked up by the state,” said O’Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese.
The rough figure was first reported by The Baltimore Sun in a broader story on Sunday. The cost to the police totaled $98,460 between Jan. 1 and Sept. 7, according to information provided to The Washington Post on Monday.
O’Malley, who is widely believed to be eying national office in 2016, made multiple treks to New York this year. According to aides, other destinations have included California, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, New Hampshire and North Carolina.
In several instances, O’Malley was invited to speak at Democratic Party dinners in those states. In some other cases, as leader of the DGA, O’Malley went to help fellow Democrats to raise money and campaign.
David Ferguson, executive director of the Maryland Republican Party, said he did not question the need for O’Malley to have some protection while traveling. But Ferguson argued that the expense should be reimbursed by political organizations when O’Malley is traveling for political purposes.
“It’s not fair for the people of Maryland to subsidize Martin O’Malley’s political ambitions and his attack on politicians in other states,” Ferguson said.
In a statement, Greg Shipley, spokesman for the Maryland State Police, said the agency “provides around-the-clock protection services to the Governor of Maryland,” adding that “the commander of the Executive Protection Unit is responsible for risk assessment and assignment of appropriate personnel to each protective detail.”
The tally of costs by the police did not include how many troopers traveled with O’Malley. That was due to “the sensitive security nature of this assignment,” Shipley said.