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Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

Est. 2014

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Rochester never sought reimbursement for public safety costs related to Trump visit

Rochester never sought reimbursement for public safety costs related to Trump visit

After a campaign visit from President Trump in October 2018, the City of Rochester had hoped to be reimbursed for costs related to the rally.

But like most cities, Rochester was left picking up the tab.

Jenna Bowman, the city’s communications manager, confirmed this week that Rochester never sent the Trump campaign an invoice for the $76,000 in public safety costs stemming from the president’s visit. Instead, the city used money out of its contingency budget to cover the costs.

“The city invoiced for the Mayo Civic Center, received payment for the use of the space and the City of Rochester acknowledged that It would not receive reimbursement for other local expenses,” said Bowman.

The cost to rent the Civic Center added up to about $112,000.

But beyond that… “Historically, be it a President, Vice President or another candidate, services have been provided by the City of Rochester without the recouping of costs, like communities across the country,” said Bowman.

The issue of whether a candidate should cover the costs incurred to a municipality for a campaign stop re-surfaced this week after the mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, went toe-to-toe with the Trump campaign over costs related to Thursday’s visit by the president.

As it turns out, Rochester is far from being alone in getting stiffed by the Trump campaign. Cities across the country have been left picking up the bills for public safety costs, according to the Center for Public Integrity. Those costs can range from $8,000 all the way into the six-digit territory.

And as PolitiFact reported this week, this is not a new problem — many other campaigns for federal office have often operated in the same way. Why? Because they know there is really nothing cities can do about it. The Federal Election Commission has no policy on the books requiring campaigns to reimburse municipalities for additional security costs.

Sean Baker is a Rochester journalist and the founder of Med City Beat.

Cover photo: Trump’s 2018 rally in Rochester / William Forsman

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