A visit by former President Donald Trump to the southern border of Texas has been announced for the end of this month, and before the ex-commander-in-chief makes that publicity-oriented stop, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego is calling for the Trump campaign to finally pay a large debt that it owes to the city of El Paso. (In Texas, chief administrative officers for counties are known as “county judges.”)
The debt totals around $570,000 and stems from a rally that Trump held at the El Paso County Coliseum on February 11, 2019. The money covers costs associated with security and similar services that local authorities provided for the event, and so far, the Trump team has not offered up any compensation at all to cover the expenses. As Samaniego put it, local authorities “have been trying to reach out to get that $570,000 from when he had his campaign” rally in El Paso all the way back in 2019, to no avail. The official added that if Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott “helps us collect the $570,000 that Trump owes from when he was here on his campaign that would be real nice.”
The El Paso City Council has actually hired “the Law Offices of Snapper L. Carr to advocate in the City’s interest in the collection of the outstanding invoices,” as the city put it. According to the Center for Public Integrity, the Trump campaign owed a whopping $1.82 million to 14 communities around the country as of last October, and there’s no particularly compelling indication that the Trump team has suddenly decided to pay up.
Notably, the Trump campaign has also faced tens of millions of dollars in costs connected to refund requests from donors, potentially seriously impeding its ability to pay for other expenses. Reporting has revealed how the Trump campaign and its affiliates duped supporters into giving more than intended via pre-checked boxes on fundraising forms that, unless un-checked, set up additional payments. Those boxes eventually included eight or nine lines of bold text before getting to the explanation of what they’d actually do.