Campaign security: Bill candidates first
The Mitt Romney campaign was pretty good about paying for security costs for New Hampshire events during the general election. Nashua, Milford and St. Anselm College all billed the campaign, and the campaign paid the tab. The Obama campaign, on the other hand, repeatedly refused to pay.
In a response to this newspaper and a letter to Portsmouth, Obama campaign officials said they had no role in making security decisions, so the campaign should not be expected to pay. After employing that non-sequiter, the campaign directed local officials to the Secret Service, suggesting that federal taxpayers might help defray the burden placed on local taxpayers.
We do not find that at all surprising. To avoid such responsibility-shifting in the future, local governments should establish policies that state clearly whether they expect campaigns to pay for all or a portion of security costs. They should let campaign officials know of those policies in writing when events are planned, not after they happen. Then, if campaigns knowingly stiff the taxpayers, local officials will have something useful to share with the public.