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Digging Deeper: Cities across the country are left with unpaid bills from campaign rallies

(KTTC) — Cities across the United States have claimed to experience the problem Minneapolis officials are hoping to avoid. According to NBC News, it’s clear that political candidates are not covering the costs that host cities expend trying to keep their citizens safe when campaigns show up.

When political campaigns come roaring into cities across the United States, most of the time that means beefing up police presence, which has its price.

A 2016 study from the University of Pennsylvania found that with Trump campaign rallies, cities see an average of 2.3 more assaults than they would on an ordinary day. Meaning the police presence is necessary, but cities are left with thousands of dollars in overtime pay for police officers and other security measures they choose to take.

In fact the secret service even requests local police units to provide whatever they find necessary, but the secret service says they aren’t funded to reimburse local police.

Several cities took efforts to get ahead of politicians arriving in its cities for campaigns. Nashville city officials signed a contract with the Trump campaign in 2017 and again in 2018, in which the campaign paid each uniformed officer in attendance around $50/hr.

But most cities don’t draw up written contracts or agreements with campaign teams when it comes to the safety measures it takes. Leaving a gray area when it comes to those candidates paying invoices some cities send to them.

Taking a look at the numbers, it isn’t unfamiliar territory for the Trump campaign, which has invoices dating back to more than three years ago, from Mesa, Arizona to Erie, Pennsylvania.

All of those invoices total to $841,219. The single largest invoice come from El Paso, Texas and does compare to what Minneapolis officials are asking. That invoice was for $470,417 for his February 11th campaign visit.

While the Trump campaign hasn’t paid the city of El Paso, presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke held a smaller rally in El Paso, and paid his $21,021 bill on time.

According to Federal Records, as of March 31st, the Trump campaign reported having more than $40 million in cash on hand, more than enough to cover police presence.

But it isn’t just Trump not paying, in 2016 the Bernie Sanders campaign racked up and didn’t initially pay for the more than $449,000 in invoices they received from 23 cities.

Former President Barack Obama’s campaign also faced invoice discrepancies for security measures, reportedly not paying all expenses, but at the time of the campaigns shut down, they reported not having any outstanding debt.

So, why don’t most cities just prohibit political candidates from stopping in their cities? Most say rallies, such as a typical Trump campaign rally provide a big boost to local establishments.

Holden Krusemark

Holden Krusemark

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