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Politics

Taxpayers to pay for portion of mayor's New Orleans trip

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake speaks at a press conference.

City taxpayers will foot some of the bill for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's recent trip to New Orleans in which she campaigned for a fellow Democrat and attended the "Monday Night Football" game between the Ravens and the Saints.

Rawlings-Blake and her security detail were in Louisiana from Nov. 21 to Nov. 25, during which time she met with New Orleans police about the city's anti-gun violence CeaseFire program, campaigned for Sen. Mary Landrieu and attended the football game, according to her staff.

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The total cost of the trip, including flight and hotel for city security officers, was more than $2,200, but Rawlings-Blake plans to reimburse the city for the days spent campaigning through her campaign account, according to her spokesman, Kevin Harris. The specific dollar figured had not yet been determined, Harris said.

Harris said the mayor's NFL tickets were a gift from a friend who does not do business with the city.

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"Folks in New Orleans knew the mayor was coming for CeaseFire and asked her to campaign," Harris said. "She said, 'Yes, but the fairest way to do that is my campaign will pay for my lodging.'"

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts also went to New Orleans that weekend. Harris said Batts was not on official city business, did not bill taxpayers and paid for his tickets to the football game. Harris said Batts did not participate in campaign events.

"Commissioner Batts was there on his own personal time and personal dime," Harris said.

lbroadwater@baltsun.com

twitter.com/lukebroadwater


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