A new report from The Associated Press says that the U.S. government is spending millions of dollars per year to guard Confederate cemeteries.
What are the details?
According to the Monday report, the Department of Veterans Affairs has spent the about $3 million so far on private security in order to protect at least eight Confederate cemeteries in the U.S.
The U.S. government reportedly began shelling out the funds after 2017's Charlottesville, Virginia, riots, and has allocated $1.6 million for 2019's fiscal year.
The Charlottesville riots broke out between white nationalists and counterprotesters after the groups clashed over Confederate memorials.
Jessica Schiefer, a spokesperson for the VA's National Cemetery Administration, told the AP that the security is necessary in order "to ensure the safety of staff, property, and visitors paying respect to those interred."
The effort is also an attempt to prevent any possible future damage potentially caused by riots of the Charlottesville type, according to the report.
Schiefer added that the VA "has a responsibility to protect the federal property it administers, and will continue to monitor and assess the need for enhanced security going forward."
She noted that the funds were not appropriated through emergency, but were taken from the VA's annual budget.
The 2018 fiscal year budget for the VA was $186.5 billion.
Is the plan working?
The report noted that there hasn't been any acts of vandalism at any of the protected sites since the security program was implemented.
Some of the cemeteries that fall under the spending include:
- Point Lookout Confederate Cemetery in Scotland, Maryland;
- Finn's Point National Cemetery in Pennsville Township, New Jersey;
- Confederate Stockade Cemetery in Sandusky, Ohio;
- Confederate Mount at Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago; and
- Springfield National Cemetery in Springfield, Missouri.
Such sites were chosen, according to Schiefer, based on what the report says is "historical significance, replacement and repair value, and previous vandalism or threats of vandalism at particular sites."
It is unclear at the time of this writing when the federal protection will conclude.