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Sen. Fortunato issues letter asking Inslee to reimburse state for campaign security

(Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

In the face of rising security costs for Gov. Jay Inslee’s presidential campaign, state Senator Phil Fortunato issued a letter Wednesday, asking the governor to use his campaign funds to reimburse Washington State Patrol.

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“The Washington State Patrol security detail that protects you and your many out-of-state trips has been a severe drain on their budget,” the letter reads.

It goes on to ask that Gov. Inslee provide reimbursement for work with the Democrat Governors Association, an affiliation Fortunato notes is largely for campaign networking.

In 2018, Inslee’s security detail was budgeted at $2.6 million. But he also traveled out of state 49 days as the head of the Democratic Governors Association, and that traveling security ran $409,000 over-budget in taxpayer dollars.

This year, Governor Inslee requested an additional $1.33 million to fund his executive protection as he travels the country.

“I have no problem providing security for the governor and his family. But now, he’s going out on these multiple day tours throughout the country — if he wants to do that, that’s fine, but he’s got to do that with his own money,” Fortunato told KTTH’s Jason Rantz.

Fortunato’s letter asks that Inslee refuse his taxpayer-funded salary, “or at the very least, reduce your salary to cover the additional cost to the taxpayers when you are out of state on your presidential campaign.”

Inslee makes just over $166,000 annually.

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Former Wisconsin governor Scott Walker used his presidential campaign donations to re-pay his State Patrol security hundreds of thousands of dollars when he ran.

KIRO 7 learned Wednesday that WSP will meet with Gov. Inslee next week to discuss how to pay for the extra security on the road, and where the money comes from.

Inslee’s office told KIRO Radio that they’ve read Fortunato’s letter, but will not use campaign funds to pay back those taxpayer dollars.

Additional reporting from KIRO 7 reporter Gary Horchard

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