He's not a Chicago politician by birth, but Vice President Joe Biden is sure learning their ways well.
Like all recent vice presidents, Biden and his wife have a rent-free government home at the Naval Observatory in Washington.
He also has his own home back in Delaware. You remember, the one he commuted on Amtrak from most days all those years he was a senator, which go back to, wow, when Barack Obama was a sixth-grader.
Biden likes his own home, as anyone would. He spends many weekends and some weekdays there. It's in a Wilmington suburb on the water.
After the most recent tenant left, Biden generously offered the cottage to the Secret Service, which provides around-the-clock protection to Biden and Obama. And all their predecessors. And the folks who'd like to be their successors.
So the agents could be close at hand for his own safety's sake, Biden generously offered to charge his bodyguards only $2,200 a month. He said that's the same rent as the previous tenant.
The vice president's already been paid $13,200 so far this year and the contract looks to pay him $66,000 into 2013.
We are learning about this sweetheart arrangement now because eagle-eyed Jim McElhatton over at the Washington Times noticed a Joseph R. Biden listed as a vendor on a federal purchase order. And the reporter wondered if this was the same guy who's so vociferously denounced government waste and no-bid contracts over the years.
The same Democrat who in June helped launch an Obama administration anti-waste campaign by saying: "The President and I are committed to changing the way government works and we are stepping up the hunt for misspent dollars."
In addition to the free Washington house and Secret Service transportation everywhere, the vice president gets those free weekly lunches with Obama at the White House.
Biden's only paid $230,700 a year by taxpayers, plus $10G's in entertainment expenses. And last year the Bidens reported $130,000 or so in other income, including $11,000 from the rental.
When McElhatton asked the Secret Service if it normally pays rent to the people it protects, the agent didn't answer it this way: "It’s a rental property, so we pay rent there.”
-- Andrew Malcolm
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Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images; Alex Wong / Getty Images (Biden indoors incognito).