Campaign Rallies Cost Taxpayers

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Hillary Clinton is making her first major primary campaign swing through Ohio today. This afternoon she donned boxing gloves at a General Motors plant in Lordstown. Tonight she’ll hold a rally at Ohio State Univeristy’s French Field House. Other candidates are sure to follow.

WOSU’s Lauren Schmoll reports, these visits come with a price – to Ohio taxpayers.

Walking around Ohio State today, it’s hard to miss the buzz. Posters are going up all over campus.

And students are getting ready for a big visit.

It won’t cost you anything to get in the door at the Clinton rally tonight, but the visits cost Columbus taxpayers more than you might think. Barb Seckler is the Deputy Safety Director for the city of Columbus. She says in 2004, the city spent nearly 440-thousand dollars providing protection for candidates during visits. That number is expected to increase for this year’s election. Seckler says every election year, the financial burden for protecting presidential hopefuls stays far away from Washington. “It always falls to the cities,” Seckler said. “And, while the federal government has been asked by numerous cities to help defray the cost it hasn’t happened and we don’t expect it to.” Ohio is expected to play a key role in the 2008 elections so that means many rallying events here in Columbus and many dollars in overtime pay for police. But, that’s a burden Seckler says the city is happy to bear and has set aside plenty of money to pay for protection fit for a president.

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