Former president Donald Trump issued a "highly unusual order" before leaving office — awarding six months of extra Secret Service protection to his four adult children and three top administration officials.
The Washington Post reported Friday that the total cost for the additional protection was $1.7 million.
Although this represents only a fraction of the the Secret Service's $2.4 billion budget, one government watchdog said the charges represent a "moral choice" for the Trump children — "whom the agents trailed to ski vacations, weekend houses, a resort in Cabo San Lucas, and business trips abroad," according to the Post.
Jim Helminski, a former Secret Service executive, said Trump appears to have given "a public service as a private benefit to his inner circle."
"Who wouldn't enjoy continuing their free limo service and easy access to restaurant tables?" Helminski said. "Even if there was a credible risk to family and associates of Trump these people are now private citizens who can afford to hire some very talented private security firms for their personal protection."
Jordan Libowitz, a spokesman for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said Trump's children failed the "moral choice" test when they declined to write off at least one portion of the Secret Service charges.
"The patriotic thing would obviously be, not charging the government to stay at your properties, and not profiting or profiteering off the government," Libowitz said. "It is just so easy for them to write off the rooms. And we're not seeing that."