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Who Foots Bill When Obama Travels?

Evil 1 2012/04/13 13:13:51

Answer gets murky on combined campaign-official trips



When President Obama traveled to Florida this week, he sandwiched a partisan speech at Florida Atlantic University between two multimillion-dollar fundraisers for his 2012 campaign, allowing him to label at least part of the trip to a critical battleground state as official business.


While Mr. Obama can rely on Air Force One and other military aircraft at his disposal for official business, federal election laws require his campaign to pay for these presidential perquisites at just a fraction of the cost - the equivalent of a commercial airline ticket - whenever he or other administration officials are using federal government resources for political activity.


Yet, like most of his recent predecessors, Mr. Obama has shown a penchant for piggybacking fundraisers onto official trips, and figuring out the details of how much the Obama campaign must reimburse taxpayers for the mixed trips is complicated and opaque, confounding presidential scholars and even the most experienced federal election law experts.

Despite Mr. Obama’s pledge to run the most transparent administration in history, the White House and the Obama campaign have done little to clarify the situation.


A search of Obama campaign Federal Election Commission reports turned up less than $5,500 in payments last year to the U.S. Treasury - and those payments did not list the purpose behind them.


“The campaign will follow all rules and pay for the portion of travel that relates to political events, as has been true for previous incumbent presidential candidates,” said Obama campaign spokeswoman Katie Hogan.


Mr. Obama’s reliance on a panoply of military aircraft and Secret Service vehicles, including armored limousines, helicopters and Air Force One, is attracting additional scrutiny this year as he crisscrosses the country at a record-setting fundraising pace.


As of March 6, Mr. Obama has participated in 191 fundraisers, already topping the re-election cycle totals of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who held 167 and 173 fundraisers, respectively, according to Mr. Doherty, who has been tracking figures for an upcoming book, “Rise of the President’s Permanent Campaign.”




Despite Mr. Obama’s pledge to run the most transparent administration in history, the White House and the Obama campaign have done little to clarify the situation.

Read More: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/apr/12/wh...

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