New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio won’t say if he will reimburse taxpayers for funding the NYPD security detail that has accompanied him as he’s crossed the country campaigning for president.
De Blasio has been criticized for spending so much time away from the nation’s largest city to campaign for president. His travel history since launching his campaign in mid-May could be at least 28 flights and at least 18 nights in hotels, according to an analysis by The City, a local news website.
De Blasio’s presidential campaign has borne the cost of his own travel across the country, but the NYPD has been on the hook for his security detail, which according to The City is comprised of least 10 officers and supervisors, citing a former detective assigned to the mayor’s security detail during Michael Bloomberg’s time in office.
“The NYPD pays the salaries of police personnel assigned to the Mayor’s Security Detail,” Deputy Commissioner Phil Walzak told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The NYPD also covers the cost of travel, lodging, meals, and rental vehicles for its personnel in relation to these trips.”
De Blasio’s mayoral press secretary Freddi Goldstein said there was nothing out of the ordinary with the arrangement. (RELATED: Bill De Blasio Draws Six-Person Crowd In New Hampshire)
“As is always the case, the mayor’s detail is paid for by the city,” Goldstein told the DCNF. “That’s always been the case for this mayor when he travels and all previous mayors when they have traveled.”
But de Blasio is the first sitting mayor of the city to run for president since Democrat John Lindsay’s unsuccessful bid in 1972. De Blasio’s recent travels with his taxpayer-funded security detail presumably wouldn’t have occurred had he not been campaigning for president.
Goldstein referred the DCNF to de Blasio’s presidential campaign when asked if the mayor will reimburse the NYPD for covering the cost of his security detail while he’s away on the campaign trail.
Multiple requests to the de Blasio campaign for comment went unanswered.
It’s unclear how much de Blasio’s out-of-town security detail has cost taxpayers since the launch of his campaign. The City estimated the mayor’s security costs have already cost the NYPD north of $100,000.
The NYPD would not confirm to the DCNF whether The City’s estimation was accurate.
“We have as a matter of long-standing policy going back several administrations declined to answer questions about specific numbers of personnel or data that could be used to extrapolate the same,” Walzak told The City.
Norman Siegel, the former executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said he filed a public records request to the NYPD on July 1 demanding information on the cost of de Blasio’s security detail.
“If we get the information, the plan would be to request the campaign to reimburse us as taxpayers,” Siegel said. “If not … we go to court.”
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