We thought that perhaps Rep. Claudia Tenney would see the error of her ways.
She didn't. And that's a shame.
For the second time, the incumbent congresswoman denied a request from Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri for reimbursement of taxpayer dollars spent for security and other expenses the city incurred when President Trump came to town last month to help her raise money for her campaign.
Picking the taxpayer's pocket isn't illegal - it happens all the time in many other ways at all levels of government - but it's not always so blatant. Now Utica taxpayers - whether they support Tenney or not - are on the hook for $29,696 used so she could raise money for her campaign.
That should make taxpayers livid.
Palmieri has sent two letters to Tenney asking for reimbursement. She says his demands are sour grapes because he wanted his photo taken with the president, but Palmieri denies that. He's simply watching city tax dollars - as he should. That near-$30,000 could be better spent on something that benefits all city taxpayers.
Tenney said previously that the Trump event was only meant for those who supported her and the president, adding that Palmieri does not support her as a candidate. Given that reasoning, why should people who don't support her as a candidate pay for her fundraiser?
Tenney says said the city hasn’t submitted an itemized bill to her campaign for the Trump visit. Palmieri should do so, although it would appear lost on this cause.
The congresswoman says research shows that it's unprecedented that a local government would charge for such a thing and that it hasn’t happened. So what? If other guardians of the public's money aren't as watchful as Palmieri, shame on them.
“All I know is my conversations with all law enforcement that I have spoken with is it was a tremendous honor to host the president," Tenney said. "They also said it was a special day in Utica. ... They were excited to be able to participate and be a part of it.”
For due compensation, of course. One wonders that were it permitted - contracts likely would prevent it - they would have volunteered their services that day.
Rome Mayor Jacqueline Izzo, meanwhile, has no plans to seek reimbursement for the cost of Trump’s visit, which she said was a positive for the area.
“I think people were thrilled watching Air Force One fly in and fly out and have the president have that recognition of being in Upstate New York ... " she said.
That thrill cost them about $10,000.
The Trump visit also cost Oneida County taxpayers. Sheriff Rob Maciol said he had 60 deputies on the presidential detail in addition to deputies on normal detail. County Executive Anthony Picente said this week that he won't be seeking reimbursement.
"I'm not disagreeing with or denying (Mayor Palmieri) ... their expenses were a lot more than ours were," said Picente, who didn't have a tally for what the visit cost the county.
Having taxpayers foot the bill for a political fundraiser might be immoral, but it isn't illegal. The politicians have made sure of that. Christian Hilland, deputy press officer for the Federal Election Commission, said in an email that there isn’t a requirement within the provisions of federal campaign law or under FEC regulations for congressional or presidential campaign committees to pay for expenses incurred by a state or local municipality in connection with a federal officeholder’s or candidate’s campaign event.
Some have wrongfully compared Trump's visit to President Barack Obama's May 2014 visit to Cooperstown. Bad comparison.
Obama visited the Baseball Hall of Fame, where he spoke about the importance of tourism to local economies all over the United States. He highlighted Cooperstown - an international destination for baseball fans - as a place where the industry had a positive impact.
Trump's visit had one purpose: To raise money for Claudia Tenney's re-election campaign.
No one can blame Tenney for playing the Trump card - that's politics - especially since she's in a neck-and-neck battle with Democratic challenger Anthony Brindisi. Many political observers are calling it one of the most hotly contested congressional races in the nation.
But she should do it on her own campaign dime, not charge it to local taxpayers. A representative of the people - all the people - should be more respectful of the public's money. Just because the law allows it doesn't make it right.
Maybe the law should change.
Don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen.