The Trump administration and Congress owe the District of Columbia over $7 million in expenses from the president’s 2017 inauguration ceremony, according to federal and city financial records reviewed by The Washington Post.
The city has dipped into a special fund that pays for annual security costs for protecting the city from terrorist threats and hosting other events to cover the four-day celebration, which ultimately had a $27.3 million price tag.
The fund is on track to enter the red by the fall, and the remaining balance is raising concerns as the government prepares for July 4 activities, including a parade.
Local officials have slammed the government over the expenses for security costs under the Trump administration, as protesters frequently descend on the capital.
“We have and will continue to work closely with our federal partners regardless of administration because ensuring the safety of our residents and visitors is paramount,” John Falcicchio, chief of staff to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D), told the Post. “Our commitment to this function is iron clad, and all that we ask of our federal partners is continued cooperation and the resources to carry out these activities.”
A senior administration official told the Post the city received the full amount of money it originally requested and that the administration “worked closely with D.C.” when inauguration costs exceeded expectations and decided to use unspent money in the security fund. He added that city officials have not asked for additional money.
D.C. officials disputed that account, telling The Post they did indeed ask for more funds that have not yet been repaid.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.
Of the roughly $20 million Congress had appropriated for Trump’s inauguration, about $14 million was spent on D.C. policy deployments, $3.6 million was allocated for fire and emergency medical services and $2.2 million went toward transportation services. The event ultimately went $7.3 million over estimates.
Though the security fund is typically well-stocked, the federal government has been spending money faster than it is investing it, having to dish out funds to cover events like the heavily attended Women’s March in 2017 and the December funeral for former President George H.W. Bush.
The city has already spent $4.4 million of the $14 million budget in the first quarter of fiscal 2019, putting the fund on pace to run a multimillion-dollar deficit as soon as the fall.
“The point now is that the account has been drained, and being careful with the money has not been enough to make up for not being reimbursed” for the inauguration, Del. Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Tight security for Capitol rally; Biden agenda slows Security forces under pressure to prevent repeat of Jan. 6 Overnight Health Care — Democrats face setback on drug pricing MORE (D-D.C.), the city’s nonvoting representative in Congress, told the Post.
No estimates have yet been released for the cost of the upcoming July 4 parade, though officials have expressed concerns about the event’s safety in light of the depleted funds. National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst told the Post security expenses would be split among the White House, Park Service and U.S. Park Police.