Vice President Mike Pence appeared at a fundraiser at a club in Colorado this week—and then left without paying the security bill.
On Monday, Pence addressed the Republican Governors Association at its closed-door quarterly meeting, and then attended a fundraiser for President Trump’s reelection and the Republican National Committee. But the organizers decided to host the $35,000-per-couple dinner at the Caribou Club in Aspen.
While the fundraiser’s organizers planned to allocate the maximum $2,700 per couple to Trump’s campaign and the remainder to the RNC, Pence himself reportedly caused the county to shell out $24,000 to cover security costs during his time there.
Pitkin County Colorado Sheriff Joe DiSalvo told Aspen Daily, “We had a SWAT team from Garfield County here that I want to see get reimbursed. We had Carbondale officers here that I want to see get reimbursed. They don’t have this kind of money—I don’t have this kind of money.”
He added that in the “20 or so” hours that Pence was there, the county deployed 64 police officers on that assignment specifically, “totaling 519 person hours.”
“Out of those 64, 14 were state troopers, and we don’t have a responsibility to pay them," he said. "But the 50 other cops that were here are all on the county dime.”
If Pence’s team—or the fundraiser’s hosts—don’t step up to cover the security costs, DiSalvo says that the burden will fall on taxpayers, who didn’t even have the opportunity to speak with Pence themselves.
County Commissioner Greg Poschman further noted that taxpayers are not usually held responsible for footing the bill in the case of private campaign events.
“The donors for Hillary [Clinton] paid. They understood; they paid it. When Trump’s people came in, it took a little more cajoling, but he paid it,” he said. “But does our sheriff really need to call up and make a strong suggestion that they pay their bill before they leave town? That doesn’t sit well with me, and I’m guessing it doesn’t sit well with the community, either.”
“I guess the whole thing is generally just somewhat disappointing to me,” DiSalvo added. “You raise $700,000 in an hour, you should be able to pitch in to support the community that made you feel welcome.”
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