Wake County Sheriff’s Office not charging for expenses related to Trump visit

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The Wake County Sheriff’s Office is not seeking reimbursement for costs related to President Donald Trump’s trip to the Triangle on Monday, a spokesman for the office said.

CBS 17 News contacted several law enforcement agencies in an attempt to determine the cost of Trump’s visit to tour a Morrisville biotech company involved in the project to create a COVID-19 vaccine.

Sheriff’s office spokesman Eric Curry said those local agencies “have mutual agreements with several agencies” including the U.S. Secret Service and as a result, his office “will not be charging for law enforcement duties.”

A Secret Service spokeswoman said in a statement to CBS 17 News that the agency “is neither authorized, nor appropriated funding to pay or reimburse our state and local partners for costs associated with a respective visit.”

The spokeswoman said that the Secret Service asks state and local law enforcement agencies to raise any financial concerns during the security advance process and “other arrangements can be coordinated” if a state or local police department cannot fulfill a request.

Wil Glenn, Morrisville’s communications and outreach director, said the town was using on-duty personnel such as K-9 officers and investigators to assist the effort — but did not use patrol officers, because they were being used to respond to service calls.

He also said Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies paid officers on its own to provide security. 

When asked by CBS 17 News how many officers were hired and at what cost, company spokesman Joseph Metzger said that was “not information we would typically share.”

David McLennan, a political science professor at Meredith College, says large-scale presidential visits “can be a big strain” on a municipality’s budget.

“This kind of event, which is more a smaller kind of event … I think that’s where the local governments will probably pick up the tab,” he said.

The federal government pays for the president’s travel expenses when a trip is considered official — as Monday’s trip to Morrisville was — but the U.S. Treasury is reimbursed when the trip is determined to be unofficial, such as those for Trump’s rallies. 

That determination is made by the White House, McLennan said. Public interest groups — and the opposing campaign — serve as a watchdog in cases when an official event also includes elements of an unofficial trip.

According to the Federal Election Committee’s database, Donald J. Trump For President Inc. — the president’s re-election committee — most recently reimbursed the treasury $13,106.64 on June 1 and $199,565.15 on May 29, both for air travel.

According to a Congressional Research Service document, the Air Force says the cost per hour of Air Force One is $179,750.

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