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Taxpayers Help Foot Bill for Gingrich Book Tour Security

August 19, 1995|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Taxpayers are helping pay for protecting House Speaker Newt Gingrich on his 25-city book tour. Plainclothes officers from the U.S. Capitol Police are guarding him, while a private detail hired by his publisher has other security duties.

Capitol Police Sgt. Dan Nichols said Friday that the security provided for Gingrich while he promotes his best-selling book, "To Renew America," continues the protection normally given to the Speaker. But news of the Capitol Police involvement provoked Democrats.

"We provide that at all times it's necessary . . . anywhere in the United States, no matter what activity," Nichols said.

"Taxpayers should not have to subsidize Newt Gingrich's book tour," Rep. Nita M. Lowey (D-N.Y.) said in a telephone interview. She said Gingrich would earn millions of dollars from the tour and that he "should consider giving some of it back."

The book, which summarizes Gingrich's thoughts on what ails the country and how to fix it, has been No. 1 on the New York Times' best-seller list for six weeks.

A Gingrich spokeswoman, Lauren Sims, defended the use of Capitol Police officers on the tour, calling the criticism "a lot of ankle-biting."

Nichols declined to specify the number of officers involved on the Gingrich tour or the cost, citing security reasons. He would not confirm a report in Friday's New York Daily News that cited House Democrats' estimates that the bill for meals, air fare and lodging could reach $100,000, or about $10,000 per officer.

Nichols said the Capitol Police protect the Speaker himself, while the private detail has broader security duties related to the locations he visits.

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