Days before Secret Service agents were forced to work without pay during the partial government shutdown, the agency paid more than $95,000 to rent generators, light towers and tents for a party at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, according to government spending records.
While Trump stayed in Washington during the shutdown, his wife and youngest son traveled to the Palm Beach, Fla., club on Dec. 21 and were there for Monday’s black-tie New Year’s Eve party, a $1,000-per-ticket affair whose profits went to Trump’s companies.
On Dec. 19, the Secret Service paid $41,250 to BSE Performance LLC for “generators and light towers for MAL” and $54,020 to Grimes Events & Party Tents Inc. for “tent rental for MAL,” MAL referring to Mar-a-Lago.
Three days later, Trump — angry that Congress had not given him an additional $5 billion toward building a wall at the southern border — shut down eight Cabinet-level departments and several agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, which houses the Secret Service.
Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., who became majority leader when the new Congress was sworn in Thursday, said last month that 5,800 Secret Service employees, including agents, were among the 420,000 federal employees forced to work without pay during the shutdown.
“These federal employees are living under a cloud of uncertainty, which impacts their ability to plan and effectively serve the American people,” Hoyer said in a news release.
The Secret Service purchases were noted by Quartz last week.
To date, the Secret Service has spent more than $520,000 on things like golf carts, generators, tents and portable restrooms at Trump’s various golf properties, according to an American Ledger analysis of the agency’s spending.
Mar-a-Lago, which Trump still owns and profits from, doubled its initiation fee to $200,000 after the 2016 election and has increased the ticket price for its New Year’s Eve parties the last two years, the Tribune News Service reported in November.
Tickets to Monday’s party for non-members cost about $1,000, before a 20-percent gratuity and 7-percent tax, up from $750 in 2017 and $575 in 2016. Members had to pay $650, up from $600 in 2017 and $525 in 2016.