Friday :: Nov 19, 2004

Only The Little People Pay Debts


by pessimist

What is it about Republicans and money? Why is it that it seems that they feel entitled to rake money in, but can't seem to find the wherewithal to meet their obligations? These are people who are often bankers, lawyers, financial advisors - people who supposedly understand the flow of capital from customer to purveyor. They would certainly not hesitate to toss you into claims or collections if you didn't pay them!

It gets worse when there are several Republicans involved. They tend to point fingers at each other and play Purity Raped if they get tagged with the tab.

Worse yet, how about when the Party itself won't pay up?


Bush host leaves bill for security costs

After well-attended fund-raisers at Patrick G. Ryan's Winnetka home, one headlined by President Bush in July and another attended by first lady Laura Bush in September, the haul for the Republican Party stood at roughly $3 million.

For area taxpayers, who ultimately paid for a legion of police to guard the high-profile guests, the cost stands at more than $75,000.

"Notwithstanding the hundreds of millions of dollars they raise, there seems to be no concern about the costs they impose on local communities," Village President Michael Duhl said.

"It's YOUR money!" - George Wel$her Bu$h

Winnetka officials, attempting to sidestep the role of campaign financier, are trying to recover the money from Ryan, who was Bush's campaign finance chairman. So far their satchel remains empty.

Ryan, who couldn't be reached for comment, has given no indication he plans to settle two bills he was sent from Village Hall, one in August for $75,333 and another in October for an amount the village hasn't made public.

In letters to the Aon Corporation chief executive, the village cites its special events ordinance, adopted in 2000 after a fund-raiser stop by former President Bill Clinton, that requires homeowners whose private events tax public resources to pay for the service. Duhl said the village passed the law after the Democratic National Committee refused to reimburse the village after the Clinton fund-raiser. "So we said look, it doesn't matter which party it is, we can't afford these things," Duhl said.

"It's YOUR money!" - George Wel$her Bu$h

I'm sure that Ryan would have a very hard time paying these bills. He only earns $2.54 million a year!

According to documents released by the village, Winnetka shouldered at least $6,855 for use of its non-police personnel during the president's visit. The remaining $68,478 in police wages were paid out by 50 area departments, including Winnetka, Glencoe, Wilmette, Northfield and Kenilworth.

"It's YOUR money!" - George Wel$her Bu$h

As cities and towns around the country played host to presidential candidates during a blitz of high-energy rallies and party fund-raisers, the U.S. Secret Service repeatedly tappeds local police departments to heighten security at the events. In Des Moines, Iowa, for example, initial cost estimates hover at about $200,000, the Police Department's director of research and development, John Jones, said.

Pete Sepp, a spokesman for the National Taxpayers Union, a nonpartisan group that lobbies for less government spending, said trying to recover those costs is often a losing battle. Sepp pointed out that while New York and Boston received federal compensation for assembling massive security details for the Republican and Democratic conventions earlier this year, cutting checks for ad hoc fund-raiser stops is a low priority for both the government and political parties.

"I wouldn't be waiting by the mailbox for a reimbursement check if I were the mayor or a city council member," Sepp said.

Passing The Buck To Sisyphus

Though Ryan has not contacted the village about the bills, the Republican National Committee sent a letter on Oct. 5 that said the group had forwarded the invoice to the U.S. Secret Service, which coordinates protection for government officials. Secret Service spokeswoman Lorie Lewis said the group wouldn't pay the bill. "People have called to ask us, 'Hey, can you pay back local cops' and again our answer is we're not equipped or funded to reimburse communities," Lewis said.

"It's YOUR money!" - George Wel$her Bu$h

Village Attorney Kathy Janega, in a response to the Republican National Committee's letter, wrote that Ryan was ultimately responsible for paying back the village "just as other persons who have held similar special events have paid when billed."

Duhl, who said he didn't know if the village would take Ryan to court over the matter, said residents who hosted former Vice President Al Gore and Laura Bush for fund-raisers in recent years paid for the security that was provided.

Trustee David Webster said organizing and paying for a fleet of police every time a national figure comes to raise money in Winnetka would result in a big hit on village funds. "When they come to Winnetka and take out $2 million or $10 million, there ought to be a little left over to sprinkle toward the police," Webster said.

The free coffee and donuts provided by the Republican Party weren't enough?


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