Is there a history of presidential campaigns declining to pay cities for costs related to campaign events?

Wednesday, June 23, 2021
By Stevie Rosignol-Cortez

Cities that send bills to presidential campaigns for security costs related to campaign events sometimes have a hard time collecting. A 2019 investigation by the Center for Public Integrity found that the Trump campaign owed ten city governments more than $800,000 in policing and other costs related to Trump’s rallies. In 2017, the organization reported that the 2016 Clinton and Sanders campaigns, as well as Trump’s, had unpaid local bills. 

The pandemic put a halt to many rallies in 2020, but El Paso hired lawyers to chase $569,000 in costs related to a 2019 visit by Trump. More recently, Albuquerque’s mayor told “The Daily Show” that Trump’s campaign owes the city about $200,000, which a Trump spokesman disputes.

A 2015 news report recounted how one Minnesota county waited 11 years to collect $18,000 from the 2004 Bush campaign, finally writing the debt off.

This fact brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.
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