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article imageObama campaign stiffs Newport Beach for security tab

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By Larry Clifton     Jul 30, 2012 in Politics
Newport Beach - Newport Beach billed President Obama's campaign for city services including police security provided during a fundraiser that occurred in May, but still has not been paid.
On the other hand, Romney campaign was billed for the same reimbursement for his campaign fundraiser in that city; Romney’s bill was paid within 30 days.
Now that the Romney campaign paid its bill, the city is left in the awkward position of trying to collect from Obama, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff says his police department talked to the Secret Service and the Obama campaign in advance about being reimbursed for city expenses arising from his planned fundraiser.
"At that time, our staff was told that the Secret Service would not reimburse the city," Kiff wrote in an email, "and that we should check with the president's campaign or the DNC."
Meanwhile, city spokeswoman Tara Finnigan said the city's billing system would be sending past-due notices.
About three weeks ago, the Democratic National Committee contacted the city and told officials to deal with the Secret Service, basically ignoring the city’s grievance.
The DNC and the Republican National Committee split their Newport Beach event proceeds with the respective campaigns.
"Any local law enforcement organization contacted by the Secret Service to assist in security should discuss matters related to costs and how to effectively manage those costs with the Secret Service," DNC spokeswoman Melanie Roussell wrote in an email Wednesday.
Now, despite prompt payment by the Romney campaign, Newport Beach City officials are getting the run around from the Obama campaign, DNC and Secret Service.
"I am very tired of this story, but it will have legs again," Mayor Kiff wrote in an email to the City Council after the Orange County Register inquired about the Romney campaign's payment.
The city was "honored" to have the president in town, Kiff said, but he viewed the campaign fund-raisers as private events.
"Had this been a 'business trip' — if the president came to Newport Beach to talk about one of his policies with our residents — the city would not have sent an invoice," he wrote in an email.
It's the service that is responsible for the candidates' security, not the campaigns, said Max Milien, a Secret Service agency spokesman. Any cost concerns should be directed to the agency.”
But the city addressed the issue in advance with agency officials and was told to bill the Obama Campaign or the DNC, and the city complies. Now, the agency, President Obama’s campaign and the DNC are refusing to pick up the tab for city security services.
"We cannot reimburse any agencies," Milien said. "We make that clear from Day 1."
The city's Finance Department recently emailed the Obama campaign a reminder about the bill instead of turning to the Secret Service.
"It's the city's intention to apply its usual policies and send the bill to collections," Councilwoman Leslie Daigle said.
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