At least three dozen municipal governments and law enforcement agencies say the Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders campaigns owe them hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign event security costs, according to an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity.
The nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organization based in Washington, D.C. reviewed federal campaign disclosures and municipal invoices and interviewed more than 60 local government officials.
“There shouldn’t be much debate about it — cities across America provided protection at a cost and should be reimbursed for it,” Mayor John McNally of Youngstown, Ohio, told CPI. Youngstown is waiting the Sanders campaign to pay a nearly $6,000 bill for security the city provided during a March campaign event, according to the report.
But who is responsible for footing the bills can be unclear, the analysis found. The Secret Service – the federal agency primarily responsible for candidate safety – usually asks for help from local police departments or other public safety agencies to secure campaign events, according to the report. But the Secret Service doesn’t remburse municipalities for those costs, and election lawyer Eric Wang told CPI campaigns arguably aren’t financially responsible either, absent a contract.
While Trump’s campaign hasn’t paid nearly $204,000 worth of police-related invoices and Clinton’s campaign hasn’t paid at least $25,000 in bills, neither campaign acknowledges in federal campaign financial disclosures that it owes the cities, the analysis found. The Sanders campaign says in federal campaign filings it owes $449,409 to nearly two dozen municipalities and law enforcement agencies.