In light of the controversy over the $20,000 to $30,000 in expected police overtime costs to Durham, New Hampshire, it is interesting to note that the Romney campaign is partially reimbursing local police forces for the costs of security for campaign events.
From July 2011 to April 2012, the Romney campaign paid $37,425.15 to local police departments in the expenditure category of “security,” according to data filed with the Federal Election Commission. In addition, there are separate payments to individual officers who are, presumably, working in their off-hours to handle event security; the Romney campaign has spent a total of $111,865.34 on security.
The amounts range in size from $3,640, in an undated payment to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department in Columbia, South Carolina, to $72 to the City of Chandler in Arizona. Several local police departments are paid several times; the Manchester, N.H., police department was paid $415.76 in October and two separate payments for the same amount dated December 2. Obviously, these amounts are unlikely to cover the entire costs for the campaign events, but at least local taxpayers are spared some of the expense for the police overtime.
The Obama campaign has $5,304.18 in expenditures under “security,” most notably $4,719.60 in payments to Bentley Forbes, the company that owns and manages the Chicago skyscraper that houses the campaign headquarters. Obviously most of the security for presidential events is handled by the U.S. Secret Service.
Durham is not the first town to complain about the costs of hosting the president for a campaign event:
Trevor Whipple, the police chief in South Burlington, told Fox News that his department incurred $4,200 in overtime expenses as a result of separate fundraising events featuring President Obama and the First Lady.
“At the end of the day, I’ve submitted an invoice and they haven’t paid,” Whipple told Fox News. “It was an additional burden on our taxpayers, on our budget and we simply wanted to ask that they reimburse us.”
Whipple said the overtime was even more significant because of First Lady Michelle Obama’s visit. He said his department was not given advance notice.
And for a town of 17,000 people, he said it’s a good bit of money.
“It’s not going to break the bank, but clearly those are tax dollars that were not approved with the expectation they would be used provide security for a fund-raising event,” he said.
The police chief in the city of Burlington has also submitted a similar request to the Obama campaign – asking to be reimbursed for several thousand dollars.
“Here we are in April and we still have this outstanding debt of approximately $2,100,” Burlington police chief Andi Higbee told television station WCAX.