The city council in El Paso, Texas, has unanimously approved the hiring of outside legal counsel in their fight to get the Trump campaign to pay over half a million dollars that it owes the city in connection to a 2019 rally. The original costs totaled a little over $470,000, and the city has added a 21 percent late fee of almost $99,000. The city is continuing its fight to get the Trump campaign to pay its debt amidst citywide financial crunches due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As El Paso City Rep. Peter Svarzbein noted, “this amount of money is not inconsequential.”
In total, six city departments provided services for the Trump campaign in connection to the February 2019 rally in El Paso. Svarzbein commented as follows:
‘We all are seeing firsthand the struggles that everyday El Paso families have, in addition to the challenges that we have in our own budget. So this amount of money is not inconsequential and also the message that we send that nobody is above the law is also an important one for our community to understand as well.’
El Paso has hired the Law Office of Snapper L. Carr to assist them in their work to get the Trump campaign to pay up, although for now, the city is not planning on bringing a lawsuit. Carr’s firm will only be paid if the city successfully recovers the money that the Trump campaign owes. El Paso City Attorney Karla Nieman, noting that the “Trump campaign is likely to face a large amount of debt from the election,” said that “based on the research and the information that we’ve gathered through the city attorney’s office and the comptrollers office,” local authorities believe that “the best course of action is to ask Mr. Carr to assist us in collecting the debt.”
A Trump campaign official has attempted to deny that the campaign has any responsibility for the debt. This official claimed as follows:
‘It is the U.S. Secret Service, not the campaign, which coordinates with local law enforcement. The campaign itself does not contract with local governments for police involvement. All billing inquiries should go to the Secret Service.’
In reality, according to a summary from The Philadelphia Inquirer from earlier this year, “the Secret Service does not pay for police overtime associated with protective visits,” according to a Secret Service spokesperson.
These days, the Trump campaign — or what’s left of it, at least — seems a lot more focused on its potentially pricey legal battles against the election results than on settling its outstanding debts. Reportedly, top Trump ally Rudy Giuliani, who recently joined the Trump campaign’s legal team in a Pennsylvania fight, wanted a whopping $20,000 a day, although The New York Times reports that exact details of how much Giuliani may actually be getting paid are unclear.
Giuliani hasn’t exactly been some kind of boon of success for the Trump team. The Pennsylvania case hasn’t really gone anywhere but down — recently, federal Judge Matthew Brann dismissed the case, and although the Trump team has rushed to appeal, in the meantime, Brann characterized the case as full of “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations.”