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N4T Investigators: Unpaid and overdue update

TUCSON – When Donald Trump was running for president in 2016, he told a supportive crowd at the Convention Center, “I suspect over the years maybe I’ll be back a lot. Now if I lose, maybe not so much. But if I win, I will remember the people of Tucson. I will remember the people of Arizona. I will remember the people of Arizona.”

However, Trump’s campaign has still not paid Tucson.

As we first reported three years ago, records show the 2016 Trump for President campaign owes the city nearly $82,000 taxpayers dollars. The bill was for police providing security during a rally at the Convention Center.

Bernie Sanders’ campaign owes the city $44,000 for his March 2016 rally at the TCC.

Tucson is far from alone concerning Trump’s unpaid bills. A report by the Center for Political Integrity found Trump’s campaign stiffed 10 cities out of a total of $841,219.

However, according to Federal Election Commission records, Sanders’ campaign has paid its debts to every other city.

Tom Volgy is a professor of political science at the U of A and former Tucson mayor. He says since the Trump campaign has raised $125 million and reportedly has $40 million cash on hand, it should pay-up.

Volgy said, “I think it’s time for those campaigns, whether they’re Democrats or Republicans, to pay their bills or face the consequences in terms of violations of federal law.

When a campaign doesn’t pay its bills and the city is forced to pay for those costs, that is a campaign contribution to that campaign. And that’s illegal.”

The News 4 Tucson Investigators contacted cities that say they’re owed money by Trump’s campaign. The one owed the most is El Paso, at $470,417.05. Tucson is next at $81,837. Here is the rest of the list, according to city records obtained from each municipality:

Spokane:            $65,124.69

Mesa:                 $64,467.56

Eau Claire, WI    $47,398.00

Billings, MT         $42,811

Erie, PA              $35,129,29

Lebanon, Ohio    $16,191.00

Green Bay, WI    $9380.00

Burlington, VT     $8464.00

Tucson City Attorney Mike Rankin first told us last year about a new policy: candidates will no longer be allowed to hold a rally at a city facility here without an upfront payment. The amount will be based on the candidates’ needs and police department input.

“What we’ll do is we will build in the projected cost for those types of services into the deposit which is required to be paid upfront.

Rankin said, “If a particular user doesn’t want to agree to our terms, then they’ll have to find another place to hold their event. It’s just protecting public funds.”

Cities have to provide whatever security is requested of them by the Secret Service. The Trump and Sanders campaigns have said they’re not paying Tucson. They claim it’s not their responsibility, that they didn’t ask TPD to provide public safety and their contracts didn’t call for it.

Volgy said: They have all the right to come in here. What they do not have the right to is the use of taxpayer funds for partisan political purposes.

If you have a story you’d like us to investigate, email us at or call 520-955-4444.

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Matthew Schwartz

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