Watchdog: Secret Service overpaid 2016 campaigns $4 million for air travel
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The U.S. Secret Service overpaid millions of dollars when reimbursing presidential campaigns for plane travel during the 2016 election, according to a new government watchdog report.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in its report released Thursday that the Secret Service overpaid presidential campaigns in 2016 by an estimated $3.9 million when reimbursing the campaigns for seats used by special agents on chartered flights.

The GAO explained that the agency's longstanding policy is to pay the lower of two fares for flights: the lowest first-class airfare on a commercial flight, or a pro-rated fare for agents flying on chartered planes.

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According to the report, the Secret Service discovered eight months before Election Day that it had been using an improper formula for calculating travel costs by only using the pro-rated fares, and failed to correct the billing procedure. 

Since the report's publication, the Secret Service says it has "completed required corrective actions to ensure miscalculations are not repeated."

The Secret Service spent a total of $58 million on travel expenses during the 2016 presidential campaign, with $17.1 million of that going to campaigns to reimburse them for agents' seats on flights, according to the GAO report.

The agency paid President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE's campaign $7.3 million for 965 chartered flights, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump heads to California Hillary Clinton: Voter suppression has led to 'crisis in democracy' in the US MORE's campaign $7.1 million for 1,317 flights, Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth Kamala Harris calls for new investigation into Kavanaugh allegations MORE's campaign $2 million for 159 flights and Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonTrump heads to heart of resistance in California Trump awards Yankees legend Mariano Rivera the Medal of Freedom HUD watchdog finds no misconduct by Carson in furniture controversy: report MORE's campaign over $615,000 for 107 flights between early 2015 and Election Day.

While the GAO report gave the dollar amounts it reimbursed each campaign, it remains unclear how much each campaign was overpaid.

The GAO set June 30 as a date by which the Secret Service should seek repayment from the campaigns.

--Updated at 3:42 p.m.