Obama Campaign Visit Costs Westport $15,000 in Overtime

President Barack Obama left Fairfield County with $2 million for his re-election campaign on Monday night and the visit will cost local authorities around $15,000, at least.

Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff said on Tuesday that the town of Westport will ask the Obama campaign for reimbursement after spending thousands of dollars in overtime for
police and fire during the president's re-election campaign fundraiser visit.

Obama was in the state for a $500-per person reception at the Stamford Marriott.

Then, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein held a $35,800-per-person dinner for Obama at his Westport home on Monday night, and Vogue editor Anna Wintour, Anne Hathaway, Aaron Sorkin and Joanne Woodward were reported to be among the attendees.

“While we welcome the president visiting us, incurring unbudgeted costs are not welcome,” Joseloff said in a news release. “Westport may be more affluent than some other towns, but we watch over our taxpayer dollars very carefully.”

In advance of the visit, Westport closed Burying Hill Beach, at the request of the Secret Service, and the state closed Sherwood Island State Park for the entire day. 

Police incurred $12,460 in overtime costs for the visit, Joseloff said, and that does not include overtime costs for Wilton, Trumbull, Easton, Monroe and Fairfield as well as the State Police, who all assisted Westport.

The fire department incurred $2,352 in overtime costs because Westport fire units were on standby at Sherwood Island State Park, where the president landed and took off, and the department also provided tactical support for the visit, Joseloff said.

In addition to reaching out to the Obama campaign, Joseloff said he will seek reimbursement from the Democratic National Committee and plans to send a copy of the request to Weinstein.

“I’m not optimistic we will be successful, but I need to make the effort,” Joseloff said.

Joseloff said Westport’s First Selectman attempted to recover similar costs when President Bill Clinton visited three times in 1998-99 for fund-raising events but they were not successful.

Officials in Newport Beach, California recently sough reimbursement for extra police protection at a campaign event and has so far been unsuccessful, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Campaign staff said that Secret Service “takes the lead on all security matters with regard to President Obama," according to the Journal, and they "should discuss matters related to costs and how to effectively manage those costs with the Secret Service."

Secret Service officials then told the newspaper that it does not cover local police overtime associated with presidential visits.


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