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Trump campaign still hasn't paid back at least 6 cities for rally bills

Posted at 8:54 PM, Oct 10, 2019

President Donald Trump's reelection campaign sparred with local Minneapolis officials this week when a local arena threatened to bar the campaign from holding a rally if they did not pay a $530,000 bill -- a fee that was passed on by the city for security services, among other costs.

When the Trump campaign threatened to sue over the bill, the arena eventually withdrew the request. However, the city's mayor maintains that the campaign still owes them money.

Minneapolis isn't the only city claiming that the Trump campaign has stiffed them for providing city services at their events.

The Trump campaign still has outstanding invoices from at least six cities related to city services, primarily security, provided during campaign rallies.

The Center for Public Integrity reported in June that at least 10 cities had not had invoices paid for more than $841,000 in services related to public safety costs for Trump campaign rallies. CNN has found that at least six of those cities still have outstanding invoices:

El Paso, Texas, for a rally held in February 2019 totaling $470,417

Spokane, Washington, for a rally held in May 2016 totaling $65,124

Mesa, Arizona, for a rally held in October 2018 totaling $64,467

Eau Claire, Wisconsin, for a rally held in April 2016 totaling $47,398

Lebanon, Ohio, for a rally held in October 2018 totaling $16,191

Burlington, Vermont, for a rally held in January 2018 totaling $8,464

In addition, city officials in Orlando, Florida, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Manchester, New Hampshire, and Rio Rancho, New Mexico -- where Trump held rallies in the time since CPI's story was published -- told CNN that there are no outstanding bills or invoices.

The way municipal governments approach billing for public services during campaign rallies varies from city to city.

A representative for one city which held a Trump rally told CNN that they don't typically invoice campaigns for city services rendered during campaign events. A representative for another city told CNN that though they do invoice campaigns for services rendered during rallies, there's a low expectation as to whether they'll actually be paid.

As Center for Public Integrity reported, cities typically provide public safety services for campaign events when they're requested by Secret Service. However, Secret Service has asserted that there is no funding mechanism for the agency to pay cities for those security services rendered.

A person familiar with the arrangement said approximately 10 cities had billed the Trump campaign for rallies out of an estimated 550 they have held.

The Minneapolis bill, the source claims, was 26.5 times higher than the expenses for when President Barack Obama had a rally in the same location in 2009. In addition, the source asserted that Secret Service is responsible for protecting the president and interacting with local law enforcement, not the campaign.