Minneapolis will not be on the hook for any costs from Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign rally Sunday at the University of Minnesota’s Williams Arena, forestalling the sort of controversy that surrounded President Donald Trump’s recent campaign rally at the Target Center.
The event was estimated to cost $40,275, according to a facilities agreement with the university. The Sanders campaign has said it would cover all the expenses.
Minneapolis Police Department spokesman John Elder said the department had nothing to do with the Sanders rally, which was handled by the university’s police department. City of Minneapolis spokeswoman Sarah McKenzie said no other city departments, such as traffic control, incurred any costs from the event.
Sanders’ event came a few weeks after a political firestorm between Mayor Jacob Frey and the Trump campaign over costs associated with Trump’s October rally in downtown Minneapolis.
Under federal law, candidates are not required to foot cities’ bills for costs incurred during such events. However, before Trump’s event at the city-owned Target Center, Frey told the Trump campaign it would have to pay an estimated $530,000 for city expenses such as police time and traffic control. The bulk of that cost estimate, $400,000, would cover public safety expenses, according to the city. The campaign refused to pay the additional costs.
The university’s facility use agreement for the Sanders event included a $9,000 fee for Williams Arena, a $16,020 estimate for University police staffing costs, a $5,940 estimate for other event security staff and $2,000 for custodial work. University spokesman Jake Ricker said Tuesday the U does not yet have the final costs for the rally.
The university did not request any outside assistance from the city for Sunday’s event, Ricker said.
The Sanders campaign said it doesn’t anticipate leaving a tab with the U.
“We pay all costs that are agreed to as a condition of the permit at a particular venue. We have no outstanding bills from 2016 and have no intentions of leaving unpaid bills to venues or municipalities this cycle either,” Sanders’ spokeswoman Sarah Ford said in a statement.
Sanders was among the candidates in the 2016 election who left cities with significant public security bills after his rallies, many of which drew substantial crowds. But the Center for Public Integrity, which has tracked local government bills for political campaign events, found Sanders recorded the expenses in his campaign filings and paid them off in following years.
Sanders’ visit to Duluth in 2018 cost the city only $144.62, compared with tens of thousands of dollars for Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who made separate visits to that city last year, according to Duluth spokeswoman Kate Van Daele. She said various factors contributed to the lower cost of the Sanders event, including the need for less law enforcement coordination for visits other than from a president or vice president. Duluth did not seek reimbursement for any of those political visits, Van Daele said, because cities historically haven’t received repayments.
Trump’s rally at Target Center, which seats more than 19,000 people, also was much larger than Sanders’ rally at Williams Arena, which holds around 14,000. The Trump rally also was marked by large protests on surrounding Minneapolis streets which required a substantial police presence.
Jessie Van Berkel • 651-925-5044