Officials in Durham, New Hampshire insist they weren’t trying to cause problems for the president’s re-election effort when they requested reimbursement for his Monday campaign stop.
“While pleased that the campaign has chosen Durham, a quintessential New England college community as the backdrop for Monday’s scheduled campaign visit, community leaders do not believe that costs associated with the campaign should be borne by local taxpayers,” town administrator Todd Selig said, estimating the trip would cost between $20,000 and $30,000.
“Our request came from the basic responsibility that a local government has to its residents to ensure that expenses outside our approved budget are recovered in a fair and equitable manner,” Durham council chairman Jay Gooze said in a statement.
They are happy to pay for official presidential visits, city officials clarified, but campaign stops are another matter entirely.
While a Friday CBS article said an Obama official assured the city it would be reimbursed, as of Sunday, it seems, the administration said they wouldn’t pay (ABC reports that the campaign “demurred” when the town sought reimbursement).
Now, an anonymous donor has stepped up to the plate and offered up to $20,000 to defray the cost of the president’s visit.
“The donor wanted us to make public his or her sentiment that the town had done the right thing in asking the campaign to do its part,” Town Council Chair Jay Gooze said, adding that they are “very greatful for this generous offer.”
While reports don’t indicate whether or not the president’s team has thanked the donor, it certainly doesn’t bode well for the campaign’s public relations. While they once boasted a billion-dollar 2012 re-election initiative, the Romney campaign raised close to $17 million more than Obama in May, and the National Review is reporting that the campaign spent more than it raised last month.
It also doesn’t help that the campaign now appears dependent on anonymous donors to cover at least one campaign stop, after coming close to swindling the city.
Republicans, however, remain skeptical and the advocacy group Americans for Prosperity has filed a “right to know” request with town administrators seeking the identity of the donor.
“The donor may have business pending before the town, or may be trying to skirt [Federal Election Commission] law, which precludes this sort of donation,” Corey R. Lewandowski, State Director of Americans for Prosperity-New Hampshire, explained.