Questions were raised Monday morning about the public safety costs related to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) rally at the University of Minnesota Sunday night. The speculation comes after Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey engaged in a Twitter spat with President Donald Trump about security fees ahead of the president’s rally in Minnesota last month.
President Trump held a rally at the Target Center in Minneapolis on October 10, but much of the news coverage leading up to the event was focused on who would pay for the costs of public safety.
Mayor Frey reportedly said that the bill would be the responsibility of the Target Center, who in turn stuck the Trump campaign with a $530,000 bill for security fees. The president’s reelection campaign responded by accusing Mayor Frey of extortion and threatened to sue the city.
“My position with respect to the operating costs remains unchanged: In keeping with our contract with AEG (Target Center’s management), taxpayers should be reimbursed for city-incurred costs resulting from the president’s visit,” Frey said after the Trump rally. “In the days ahead, I will be meeting with city leadership and my council colleagues to decide upon the appropriate path forward.”
Minneapolis leadership was much quieter ahead of Sanders’ Sunday night rally at the University of Minnesota, a taxpayer-funded institution. The Vermont senator and presidential candidate has a history of refusing to pay security bills.
During his failed 2016 campaign, Sanders neglected to pay public safety bills from 23 different local governments and law enforcement agencies, according to a report from the Center for Public Integrity. These bills amounted to a combined total of $449,000. Sanders’ campaign committee began quietly paying off the bills around the same time the senator was considering another run for the presidency.
When asked if the city would take the same aggressive approach with the Sanders campaign as it did with Trump, Minneapolis officials told reporters that the university didn’t need any help from the city for the event.
“While costs associated with the event will not be finalized until after Sunday, the university requires that all expenses related to this event are paid for by the Sanders campaign,” the school said in a statement.
The Sanders campaign simply said that it pays “all costs that are agreed to as a condition of a permit at a particular venue,” but didn’t respond to questions seeking clarification, such as whether it will pay fees for services that weren’t requested.
Sanders’ 2016 campaign refused to pay public safety costs related to a Tuscon, Arizona event because it “did not contract for, nor did it request or arrange for the Tuscon Police Department to provide public safety,” a campaign attorney wrote at the time.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Bernie Sanders” by Gage Skidmore CC2.0 and “Bernie Sanders Rallies in Minnesota” by Bernie Sanders.