Preface: Yes, the Colombian Secret Service/prostitute scandal is hot but imho too new for commentary. The Bidens’ take is small potatoes, but the principle bothers me. Joe and Jill finagle extra income from free, required protection. Tacky.

Rotating proximal Secret Service agents helps ensure protectee safety 24/7. V.P. Joe and Dr. Jill Bidens’ agents use a cabin on “lakefront property he owns in Delaware” but the Bidens charge $2,200/month rent (Washington Times’ “Biden to continue collecting rent from Secret Service“). The report reveals the couple earn $379,178 but will collect $2,200 monthly another year under a November 2011 lease.

“Biden took deductions for mortgage interest and taxes that allowed him to report only $12,653 … ,” finds the White House Dossier. The Times and Dossier’s numbers come from 2011 income tax forms at the White House site. I took screenshots of Schedule E:

Cropped: Rent charged to Secret Service by Bidens in 2011

Vice President Biden has made his living with taxpayer money since his late 20s. So it’s no wonder that he and Dr. Biden apparently have a tough time getting by on $31,598 every month. That explains why the Bidens give only 1.5% of their earnings to charity — just “$5,540” during 2011.

The Washington Times thoroughly investigated the story, and interviewed the Secret Service:

Federal spending records show the U.S. Secret Service approved a purchase order on Nov. 2 to pay Mr. Biden $26,400 for agents to stay at a cottage on lakefront property he owns in Delaware.

Edwin M. Donovan, special agent in charge at the Secret Service’s Office of Public Affairs in Washington, said Mr. Biden isn’t receiving all that money at once. Instead, he said, the purchase order shows plans by the Secret Service to pay Mr. Biden $2,200 per month for another year.

In other words, Mr. Biden isn’t raising the rent.

He has been charging the Secret Service that same rate under previous purchases orders, first reported by The Washington Times this past summer, totaling $13,200.

The White House declined to comment Thursday on the latest purchase order other than to point out that the cottage property was an existing rental when the Secret Service moved in.

But officials declined to say whether Mr. Biden considered letting agents stay in his cottage free of charge, or even at a reduced rate, following criticisms from taxpayer watchdogs who questioned the arrangement when it became public in July. …

Read the complete article at the Washington Times. It’s quite illuminating.

Are any of you more expert in reading IRS forms? Check out the full return and report what you notice.

P.S. Yes, I realize that in the scheme of things, it’s not a huge amount of money. But $22,000+ is far more than what millions of Americans can earn in a year.