By Pat Kessler


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — President Donald Trump’s campaign rally will go on as scheduled Thursday night at Target Center in downtown Minneapolis.

That’s after city officials dropped a demand that Trump’s campaign pre-pay $500,000 in security costs.

It turns out many presidential candidates, including Trump, won’t pay the substantial bills local governments incur for their rallies.

Let’s rewind a little bit. President Trump electrified a Rochester, Minnesota crowd in 2018. But when it came time to pay the $93,625 bill for public workers and security, the city got stiffed.

The Trump campaign also hasn’t paid a $9,380 bill in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and a $21,054 debt to Eau Claire.

In fact, Trump left a trail of unpaid bills totaling $871,000 in at least 12 cities since 2016. That’s according to the Center for Public Integrity, which tracks campaign spending, and found there are no set rules for who pays the bills when candidates come to town.

That’s why the city of Minneapolis demanded the Trump campaign pre-pay more than half a million dollars for expected security costs in the city.

President Donald Trump at a “Keep America Great” rally in October of 2018. (credit: CBS)

But it turns out the President Trump is not alone. A lot of presidential campaigns haven’t paid the bills.

The Federal Elections Commission does not require candidates to pay for police protection. There are no uniform rules for what cities can charge. And some cities, like Duluth, never bother to send a bill because they don’t think they’ll get paid.

The Center for Public Integrity found Democrats and Republicans are equally lax, and some don’t pay in a timely matter. Democrat Bernie Sanders reportedly owed cities $449,409 for police security and public costs, however the Sanders campaign provided WCCO-TV with this Federal Elections Commission report showing the campaign has no outstanding debt.

Democrat Kamala Harris racked up $187,327 in public costs in January, but missed payment deadlines in April.

“That cost was paid in full,” said Miryam Lipper, Iowa communications director for the Harris campaign.

But not all candidates stiff cities they visit. Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar paid Minneapolis in full after she announced her presidential campaign in a snowstorm in February.

Democrat Cory Booker reimbursed Newark police for security at his campaign kick-off.

And Republican Senator Ted Cruz in 2016 had a reputation for always paying city bills — on time and in full.

Here are some of the sources we used for this Reality Check:

Center For Public Integrity: Why The Trump Campaign Won’t Pay Police Bills

Politico: Unpaid Bills Pile Up In Trump Rallies’ Wake

Newsweek: Trump Campaign Has Almost $1M In Unpaid Public Safety Costs

Rochester Post Bulletin: $90K City Cost For Trump Rally Not Likely To Be Repaid

Pat Kessler

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