Commentary: Obama needs to pay his tab to Newport Beach

The city of Newport Beach billed the Obama campaign $35,000 for reimbursement of local policing costs to cover the campaign's recent local fundraiser. It's the same amount as one maximum contribution from George Clooney.

I represent Newport Beach taxpayers who received no benefit from the event.

There was no official business conducted by the president during this visit. The purpose was strictly campaign-related. More than 150 people attended the fundraiser.

The funds will be used to influence the outcome of elections and other political activities.

The city is applying its special-events policy in a fair and consistent manner. The city charges groups for additional policing costs when the event is purely fundraising. This policy extends to for-profit, non-profit and political organizations.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney's presidential campaign was billed for policing costs related to its fundraiser held in the city. The Romney campaign paid the bill in full.

The practice of the Obama campaign sticking cities and towns for policing costs connected to campaign visits has not been a small issue in the USA. The campaign's impacted city after city leaving a trail of debt.

In Springfield, Ill.i, the "Land of Lincoln," where the unemployment rate was 10.2% in January, in a state with a 9.4% unemployment rate, the Obama campaign left town with $55,000 in unpaid policing costs. Springfield was used as the backdrop for candidate Obama announcing Joe Biden as his running mate.

Springfield is not a wealthy enclave. Mayor Michael Houston said in his 2012 state of the city address that the average fund balance for the 220 working days that ended in 2011 was just a little over a negative $3.5M a day. The state was taking up to 150 days to pay the city their share of tax revenues.

This is in contrast to Lincoln Bedroom squatter Barbra Streisand, who sang to the tune of around $9 million in proceeds for the 2008 Obama campaign.

Obama talks a big game when he is spending taxpayer money for golf outings or defunct solar companies. When it comes to using his own campaign money to reimburse cities he refuses to pay the bill.

A complaint filed by the city of Cupertino in 1984 prompted the Federal Election Commission to issue Federal Advisory 84-58, which established that local policing costs are "qualified campaign expenses."

The Obama campaign has leaned on cities in Illinois, Colorado, New Hampshire and other states for additional policing expenses that advance the goals of the campaign.

Here in Newport Beach, the weight of the municipality is behind efforts to seek reimbursement. It would not be appropriate for the City to use $35,000 of local tax dollars as an in-kind contribution to the Obama presidential campaign.

He's been America's guest way too long.

LESLIE DAIGLE is a Newport Beach city councilwoman.

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