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Should Kasich pay back campaign security costs?

Posted: 6:42 PM, May 05, 2016
Updated: 2016-05-05 23:42:25Z

CINCINNATI — A day following GOP presidential hopeful and Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s announcement that he was suspending his campaign, Democratic leaders are pressuring him to disclose how much he paid for his security along the campaign trail.

Months on the presidential campaign trail drove up the bill to protect Kasich. Estimates several weeks ago, backed up by WCPO news partner Politifact, put that figure at upwards of $350,000 in taxpayer dollars.

Now, legally, the Kasich campaign is not obligated to disclose the specifics of the cost of his security to Ohio taxpayers.

But Democratic leaders are pressuring the governor not only to disclose those figures, but to pay the costs back to the taxpayers.

“Now that the campaign is over, especially, just tell us how much it cost,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper. “There’s no justification to hide that cost.”

It’s a question the Kasich campaign has answered time and again as the governor’s time away grew more considerable. His office always said it won’t comment on matters of security, for him or his family.

It’s just something that comes with the job, campaign officials say.

Xavier University political scientist Mack Mariani said the concern of campaign security costs is a perennial complaint from leaders on both sides of the aisle.

“The cost to the office would be: Would every governor have to step down if they were running for president, and would we expect that of Democrats as well as Republicans?” said Mariani.

But Pepper cited the example of former presidential candidate and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who not only disclosed but reimbursed taxpayers for his security costs.

“I’m not saying he should have had security,” Pepper said. “I just think if it’s clearly been to support the campaign I think and all the millions these guys are raising for their campaign, I think the campaign should end up reimbursing for the cost as opposed to having it be taxpayers footing the bill for what was basically a presidential campaign.”