Detailed expense reports obtained by NBC Los Angeles reveal that taxpayers footed the bill for Sen. Kamala Harris' armed LAPD security detail on at least a dozen trips outside of Los Angeles under an "unusual arrangement" with former LAPD chief Charlie Beck that cost nearly $50,000 by NBC's count.
While the LAPD routinely provides security details to dignitaries and officials visiting the city, "a senior retired department official said the courtesy extended to Sen. Harris for her travels to other cities was unprecedented" given her role as a State senator, reports NBC.
LA taxpayers paid for airline tickets, hotel stays, car rentals, and meals, according to detailed expense reports obtained by NBC News. -NBC LA
Mayor Eric Garcetti's office claims that the Mayor was "unaware" of the arrangement until July, when new LAPD Chief Michel Moore shut the program down. Garcetti recently came under fire for a similar taxpayer funded security detail which his political action committee, the Democratic Midterm Victory Fund, has agreed pay for. This has left some to wonder if a similar entity will reimburse the city for her roving police shadow.
"We're asking whether or not that same sort of arrangement might apply here, where somebody affiliated with Kamala Harris' campaign or her Political Action Committees might consider reimbursing LA City taxpayers for the money, which now is nearing $50,000 by our amateur accounting," reports Eric Leonard of NBC LA.
Mayor Eric Garcetti's office said the Mayor was, "unaware," of this unusual arrangement until July, when it was shut down by new LAPD Chief Michel Moore.
"It was not until Chief Moore was sworn in, conducted a new assessment of the threat, determined that this arrangement was no longer needed, and informed Mayor Garcetti, that the mayor became aware of the state-wide detail," Garcetti spokesman Alex Comisar wrote in an email Wednesday.
Garcetti said former LAPD Chief Charlie Beck was solely responsible for the program. -NBC LA
"Chief of Police Charlie Beck assigned a security detail for US Senator Kamala Harris shortly before she was sworn into office in 2017, based on a threat assessment he believed to be credible," said LAPD spokesman Josh Rubenstein. "Funding for the detail was provided by the Department budget."
Former Chief Beck's signature can be found on several LAPD documents authorizing the excursions, including one in which two officers flew to Oakland with Harris to a "retirement event" for a CA DOJ official - just 10 days after she was sworn-in to the Senate.
Meanwhile, records reveal that Harris flew to San Francisco at least seven times between January 2017 and July 2018, including an April 2017 trip in which Harris gave television interviews, and a March 2018 speech at a YMCA event. Also included were a June 2018 police escort to the San Francisco Pride Parade, where LAPD officers can be seen flanking the Senator.
LAPD officers have also traveled to Fresno, Sacramento and San Diego for Harris - whose communications director Lily Adams told NBC: "Since she became a protectee more than a decade ago, Senator Harris has always deferred to public safety experts on procedures, protocols and determinations," adding "Our office did not request or question LAPD's decision to provide protection and we are grateful for the ongoing work of officers in Los Angeles and across the state who risk their lives to keep all Californians safe."
Chief Moore canceled the program right around the time the Los Angeles Times filed a lawsuit demanding that Mayor Garcetti turn over records on his own taxpayer-funded security detail while traveling out of state, following the refusal by both City Hall and the LAPD to provide the documents through a California Public Records Act request.
"Unfortunately we are not able to give out this information, as it could potentially undermine the Mayor's safety and security," LAPD spokesman Rubenstein wrote in an email to the Los Angeles Times that was cited in the newspaper's lawsuit.
The LA Times says in their lawsuit that the records are not exempt from public disclosure - noting that the US Secret Service have provided security detail costs for both Presidents Trump and Obama, while the cities of Seattle, Baltimore and Chicago have all produced similar mayoral expense records to the public.