California has a reputation for being an "ATM" when it comes to presidential campaigns, but one city in the Golden State is tired of bearing the hidden costs of high-end political fundraisers.
Newport Beach in Orange County, Calif., has just slapped the Obama for America campaign with a bill for $35,043.04, reports Corona Del Mar Today. The figure represents the cost of extra police officers, reserve officers and overtime pay that the city contributed to the President's visit in February of this year.
The bill was City Manager Dave Kiff's idea. In a written statement to Corona Del Mar Today, Kiff said:
I think it is appropriate to treat it like a private event -- if another private event that large and which required that much police presence occurred, we would bill the event sponsor ... If the president was here on presidential business, we likely would not have billed for that.
However, Kiff emphasized in his statement that the President's visit was still an honor. "We are of course always honored when any US official, especially the President, comes to visit our community."
Newport Beach residents told CBS2/KCAL9 that they agreed with Kiff's decision to bill the President for city services rendered.
"I don’t care what the political party is … I am not in the President’s party," said Scott Mason, who lives on the same street that the President held his fundraiser. "If you are using the public sector to support fund-raising ... you have to pay for that."
Newport Beach residents Jeffrey and Nancy Stack hosted the breakfast fundraiser for the President. Ticket prices to the event ranged from $2,500 to $35,800.
Newport Beach's revenue department sent the invoice, dated May 10, to the Obama for America office in Chicago, reports the Los Angeles Times. As of late Thursday, there's been no official response to the bill. It's due June 9.
Newport Beach is a conservative, affluent city. The median income is estimated at $107,007 (California's median income is $60,883) and registered Republicans outnumber Democrats three-to-one.
To date, President Obama has made 10 visits to the Southland since he was elected. His most recent visit in May brought him to the home of actor George Clooney, where a star-studded fundraising event raised a record $15 million for one night. Two-thirds of the figure came from small donations across the country for a contest that would fly the winners to Los Angeles for the event.