Security detail protecting Education Secretary cost nearly $8M over 8 months

Narrowly confirmed after Vice President Mike Pence broke a 50-50 tie in the Senate, DeVos is the first cabinet-level official to receive protection from the marshals service since 2009.

Image credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Shortly after protestors blocked Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos from entering a DC public school in February, the U.S. Marshals Service replaced her security team at a cost of nearly $1 million per month, which will be paid by the Department of Education. According to a spokesperson for the marshals service, no other Education Secretary has ever received a protective detail from their agency.

On February 10, several demonstrators blocked DeVos from entering a DC public school in protest against the unqualified GOP campaign donor. Instead of meeting with the concerned citizens and directly addressing their concerns, DeVos immediately fled into an SUV and drove away.

Three days later, DeVos’ security team, which had been comprised mostly of department employees and former Secret Service agents, were replaced by a security detail provided by the U.S. Marshals Service. According to a department spokesman who recently spoke to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity, DeVos’ new security detail will cost $7.78 million to pay for their services from mid-February through September.

Narrowly confirmed after Vice President Mike Pence broke a 50-50 tie in the Senate, DeVos is the first cabinet-level official to receive protection from the marshals service since 2009. According to Drew Wade, spokesman for the U.S. Marshal’s Office, federal marshals were required to protect the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy eight years ago. Besides DeVos, no other Education Secretary has ever received protection from the marshals service.

On Thursday, DeVos fled into an elevator packed with law enforcement officers after a protester at Miami’s Florida International University recorded a video questioning her brother’s recently exposed involvement with the Trump campaign and foreign officials.

“Secretary DeVos, can you tell us about your brother’s deal with the United Arab Emirates and the Russians to buy your cabinet position?” the unidentified FIU student asked. “Can you tell us about the deal to lift the Russian sanctions? You bought your cabinet position, Secretary. You don’t know anything about schools.”

Married to Dick DeVos, Betsy is the daughter-in-law of Richard DeVos Sr., the founder of Amway, a cosmetic retailer repeatedly accused of operating as a pyramid scheme. Her brother, Erik Prince, is notorious for founding the mercenary group Blackwater, which was responsible for murdering innocent civilians in Iraq.

On January 11, the United Arab Emirates arranged a secret meeting in the Seychelles islands between Prince and a Russian with close ties to Vladimir Putin. During the clandestine and possibly illegal meeting, DeVos’ brother, who personally contributed $250,000 to Donald Trump’s campaign, and Putin’s associate reportedly discussed lifting sanctions and other foreign policy issues prior to Trump’s inauguration.

Expected to hire another two dozen people to specifically guard DeVos, the U.S. Marshals Service plans to provide a protective detail for the Education Secretary during the next four years or until the agency decides to end the arrangement. While Trump’s proposed budget plans to end programs like Meals on Wheels and after-school programs, the U.S. Department of Education is expected to pay nearly $1 million each month to protect an incompetent Education Secretary who purchased her cabinet position with campaign donations from her affluent family.


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Andrew Emett is a staff writer for NationofChange. Andrew is a Los Angeles-based reporter exposing political and corporate corruption. His interests include national security, corporate abuse, and holding government officials accountable. Andrew’s work has appeared on Raw Story, Alternet, and many other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @AndrewEmett and on Facebook at Andrew Emett.