Trump campaign has stiffed American cities at least $1 million — and counting

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A good portion of the costs cover security at Trump's rallies, provided by local police departments.

The Trump campaign continues to stiff cities across the country for the costs of hosting rallies, with the debt now totaling more than $1 million, according to a Thursday report in the Washington Post.

The most recent city to invoice the Trump campaign, Albuquerque, New Mexico, is demanding $211,000 to cover the cost of a September rally. As with many previous bills, a significant chunk of the costs cover overtime for police officers.

"Our resources for law enforcement are critical and limited," Tim Keller, mayor of Albuquerque, said in a written statement, according to the Albuquerque Journal. "The President's campaign stop in the Albuquerque area cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, including over 1,500 hours of police overtime that was required by the campaign. We are asking the Trump campaign to pay our taxpayers back for the costs from his campaign stop."

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The Trump campaign also owes the city of El Paso $470,000 for a February rally, more than $380,000 of which is for the El Paso Police Department.

Adding up the bills from a total of 12 cities, including $530,000 demanded by Minneapolis, and late fees from nonpayment, the Post calculates the total is nearly $1.7 million.

"It is the U.S. Secret Service, not the campaign, which coordinates with local law enforcement," Michael Glassner, chief operating officer of the Trump campaign, said in a statement defending the mounting debt invoiced to the campaign. "The campaign itself does not contract with local governments for police involvement. All billing inquiries should always go to the Secret Service."

Trump visited these cities as a candidate for president, not in his official capacity as president.

"If it were an official presidential visit, you don't bill for that kind of thing," Bernalillo County spokesperson Tom Thorpe told the Albuquerque Journal. "It was campaign (related). That makes it different."

Albuquerque is located in Bernalillo County.

The Trump campaign and RNC bragged about raising $125 million over the summer, and a total of $300 million over the first nine months of 2019.

"Dollars are the real polls right now," RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel told Fox News in early October. McDaniel did not mention that Democratic nominees and the DNC have raised $500 million in in the same time period.

Paying off the debts to local cities and counties would amount to less than 1% of the funds the Trump campaign raised in 2019.

Yet with all the money raised, the Trump campaign refuses to pay cities for the costs of police officers, firefighters, and other local services needed to ensure the safety of attendees at its rallies.

Before Trump came to the White House, he had a reputation of not paying contractors who worked for his namesake business, the Trump Organization. A 2016 Wall Street Journal report categorized hundreds of thousands of dollars Trump had stiffed vendors over the course of his career.

A USA Today investigation found Trump was involved in at least 60 lawsuits dealing with his refusal to pay vendors.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.