Paper Reports Taxpayers Paid for Quayle Scuba Lessons
HOUSTON (AP) _ Taxpayers paid for scuba lessons for Vice President Dan Quayle, his wife, their three children and the family’s Secret Service agents, the Houston Chronicle reported today, citing government records.
The expenses for the 1990 lessons included four dive watches, totaling $1,529, and $977 for 10 Nike warm-up suits, the Chronicle said, citing records it obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
The records said each warm-up suit was embroidered with the wearer’s name, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration emblem, the newspaper said. NOAA provided the training.
Quayle spokesman Jeff Nesbit said the Secret Service had forbidden the family from taking lessons at a commercial school, insisting that all equipment be bought by the government to prevent tampering.
While the Quayles pay for some of their vacation costs, such as ski-lift tickets, they did not reimburse the government for any of the scuba-related expenses, Nesbit said.
The total cost of the expedition was not given, but the newspaper said a trainer billed the government $566 to repair his underwater Rolex watch that he said was damaged when it became entangled in the vice president’s gear.
The Chronicle said the Commerce Department, which includes NOAA, had recommended that the Secret Service pay for training its agents. NOAA officials declined to comply, the newspaper said.
NOAA spokesman Reed Boatright said the agency couldn’t estimate the cost of the training, but he told the Chronicle that there were expenses to send employees to Florida and Hawaii to train the Quayles.
Commerce Department Inspector General Francis D. DeGeorge said his office investigated the services and deemed them proper, but he didn’t list security as a reason for providing the training.