Audit: Portland should charge for political visits - KPTV - FOX 12

Audit: Portland should charge for political visits

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Portland's city auditor wants politicians to pay for services like police security and traffic control that the city provides during fundraisers and campaign events.

City Auditor Mary Hull Caballero issued a report Tuesday that said the city's policy dictates that private entities be charged for such services, but the city has not billed any campaigns during the current election cycle.

That has resulted in an estimated cost of at least $180,000 for the Portland Police Bureau between October 2014 and April 2016, the audit said.

Fundraising visits by President Barack Obama in May 2015 and Vice President Joe Biden in Oct. 2014 were the most expensive events listed in the report, costing an estimated $89,000 and $53,400 respectively.

The $180,000 figure is just an estimate and could be higher, since it doesn't include extra benefits costs for the police bureau or indirect costs such as equipment.

The audit said Portland has charged for political events in the past, but city officials have not done so recently due to a belief that campaigns wouldn't pay.

In an accompanying response, Chief of Police Larry O'Dea said he supports the audit's findings.

"As noted in the audit, we have tried unsuccessfully in the past to obtain payment from campaigns. Without additional support from the City, we were unable to collect on those fees. I am hopeful this audit's findings will assist in the successful billing and collection of such payments from Presidential campaigns."

Portland has been reimbursed for services just once during the past two years. The audit said the Moda Center requested and paid for off-duty, secondary employment police officers for Bernie Sanders' Aug. 2015 visit.

The audit recommends the city adhere to its policy of charging for such services moving forward and also look into whether it would be possible to recoup costs from recent campaign visits.

You can read the full audit report here.

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