The small Silicon Valley town of Atherton, Calif., boasts one of the nation's priciest zip codes, but it's apparently no longer interested in footing the bill for political fundraisers.
After President Obama rolled into town in April for two Democratic National Committee (DNC) fundraisers, the town was left with about $8,000 in security and cleanup costs. After failing to get any reimbursement for the events, Atherton officials are considering the unusual step of slapping a lien on the wealthy residents who hosted the fundraisers, CBS affiliate KPIX reports.
Atherton, which neighbors Stanford University and the tech hub of Palo Alto, is a common stop for political fundraisers. President Obama, for instance, has attended Atherton fundraisers at the homes of Doug Goldman, heir to the Levi Strauss fortune, and former state Controller Steve Westly. Atherton resident Jillian Manus Salzman, meanwhile, hosted a high-priced fundraiser for Mitt Romney in 2011.
Still, KPIX reports that as the town struggles with its budget, its leaders are fed up with the costly events. "When people are paying $32,400 to have a luncheon with the president," councilman Bill Widmer said, "part of that money could go to pay for police protection that's required to keep everybody safe."
Tickets for the two April events ranged from $1,000 to $32,400. The first event was an intimate brunch with about 30 people at the home of Mark Heising and Lis Simons. Heising is the managing director of the San Francisco investment firm Medley Partners and a board member of the Environmental Defense Fund. Goldman and his wife Marcia Goldman hosted about 250 people at their home for the second event.
At the second event, Mr. Obama raised some eyebrows by calling California state attorney general Kamala Harris "the best looking attorney general."
Atherton officials are looking for reimbursements from the event hosts after failing to get the DNC or the Secret Service to cover the costs. The DNC has not responded to inquiries from CBS News about the issue. Secret Service spokesman Max Milien said the agency doesn't have a mechanism in place to reimburse agencies or municipalities. The agency typically relies on already-existing partnerships for the assistance it needs to provide security at various events.
Other cities have agreed to cover the expenses for hosting politicians. A spokeswoman for Palo Alto, Calif., told KPIX it takes such events into consideration when drafting its local law enforcement budget.