Obama Pays 19-Year-Old Parking Tickets

The Boston Globe reports that Barack Obama paid $375 in fines and fees for 15 unpaid parking tickets, dating back to his time as a student at Harvard Law School between 1988 and 1991, two weeks before launching his presidential campaign.

I question the timing.

And, no, this doesn’t in any way diminish his qualifications to be president. I presume his campaign did its due diligence in looking for dirt the opposition would uncover and was just tying up loose ends. Still it’s somewhat amusing.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. In what way can you possibly question the timing. You think he had it on his to do list but just never quite got around to it? Of course this is about his election. Wouldn’t want to get pulled over and arrested for outstanding warrants during the campaign would you?

    Better he pay now than not pay. Better still if he had paid then and not now. But on its own, it neither qualifies nor disqualifies him for president (strictly speaking, his citizenship and age qualify him for president, though by that token James or I qualify for president). But I do wonder about how this turned up. Did he remember? Is someone going through old college papers and find a ticket? Did they run a police check on him? Is this the result of the equivalent of a top secret investigation (interview three people you name and then interview more people named by those three)? Just how did this mote surface?

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Reminds me of the time that a client paid a ten-year-old invoice of mine when they were about to be acquired by a Fortune 1000 company.

  3. Marc says:

    I have to disagree with you on this one. The simple fact that he waited this long to pay them and at this point in time shows that he was aware of them and just never felt the need to pay them. That is arrogance.

    It truly would have been better to have not paid them, act like you were never aware they were outstanding and then pay them. The way he did it, showed that he was aware and just never saw the necessity in settling a debt.

    This is a character flaw, to say the very least.