Markovich: Where’s our ‘inconvenience fee’ for when the president visits and disrupts Seattle?

Jun 5, 2024, 7:31 AM

inconvenience fee seattle president...

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the high cost of prescription drugs and child care at Green River College in in Auburn, Washington in 2022. (Photo: Karen Ducey, Getty Images)

(Photo: Karen Ducey, Getty Images)

President Biden and Vice President Harris both visited Seattle recently to raise money for their campaigns, and I believe we are all owed a service fee for the collective inconvenience.

President Biden made a 24-hour stopover in Seattle in early May. There was no presidential reason, strictly a campaign stop to pull money out of the ATM Washington state has become for his campaign.

The race this year is not competitive. Washington will go for Biden. The last time this state went for a Republican for president was Ronald Reagan in 1984.

More on President Biden: Biden rolls out border asylum restrictions; Washington officials react

Last Saturday, three weeks after Biden’s visit, Vice President Harris made a trip to the Washington State ATM.

Well, now I want my ATM service fee. Call it an inconvenience fee.

If a president or a vice president came for an official visit — to sign a treaty with China, to provide federal assistance for a region torn apart by an earthquake — I’m OK with that. I’ll waive the service fee.

But if they are coming strictly to raise campaign money, with their motorcade blocking traffic for hours during rush hour, delaying dozens of flights at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and surrounding airports just to make room for Air Force One or its sequel, I need my inconvenience fee.

As a taxpayer, I’m paying the overtime needed for all the local law enforcement needed for the motorcades to private events surrounding their hotels.

Our region deserves an inconvenience fee

The federal government accounting office keeps track of the costs of federal assets — like Air Force One — for strictly campaign visits. Campaigns are required to set up an escrow account to pay the cost of using federal assets for campaign purposes.

According to an Associated Press report, since Biden officially began his re-election bid in January 2023 to the end of March this year — a 15-month period — $6.5 million has been put into that escrow account despite the government only have been reimbursed $300,000.

The reimbursement cost of just Air Force One, according to the Government Accountability Office, is approximately $200,000 an hour.

More from Matt Markovich: What do President Joe Biden and Sammy Sosa have in common?

I’m not a math wizard, but it seems to me the Biden-Harris campaign owes the government a lot more than $300,000. If presidential re-election campaigns had to pay the true reimbursement costs of a fundraising stop, they would never leave Washington D.C.

For the record, I would only charge a $3.99 service fee for their ATM visit. I’m sending my reimbursement form to the White House today.

Matt Markovich often covers the state legislature and public policy for KIRO Newsradio. You can read more of Matt’s stories here. Follow him on X, or email him here.

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Markovich: Where’s our ‘inconvenience fee’ for when the president visits and disrupts Seattle?