Obama has taken four trips outside Washington, D.C., since Jan. 1, including 18 re-election fundraisers interspersed with various activities related to his duties as president. Most recently, Obama concluded a three-day, three-state swing when he attended eight fundraisers and two official events.
The president’s jet-setting has drawn the usual criticisms from his political opponents but also raised the curiosity and questions from taxpayers about who bears the sky-high costs.
President Obama and Democrats have raised $250 million dollars so far this election cycle. But who actually pays for the president’s travel costs so he can get to these multimillion dollar mansions to raise money? In part, you and I do.
So far this year, President Obama has taken four trips, including 18 fundraisers outside the greater Washington, D.C. area. But during each trip he also conducted official business. That means that the White House — in other words, taxpayers — splits the cost with the Obama campaign.
But how do they split it? Take Obama’s recent trip out west, when he travelled to three states over three days. He attended eight fundraisers, and held just two official events – a factory tour in Wisconsin and a Boeing plant visit in Seattle.
The cost of operating Air Force One is $179,750 per hour, according to the U.S. Air Force. White House Pool reports show that the plane flew for nearly 12 hours for that trip, which means the plane ride alone cost more than $2 million. That doesn’t even include the cost of flying advance workers and specialty vehicles ahead of time to the president’s destination, not to mention the cost of setting up security.
So what was the total cost of that trip to taxpayers?
“We’ll never know,” said Brendan Doherty, who tracks presidential travel as a political scientist at the United States Naval Academy.
“Even on a trip that ends up designated as 100 percent political,” he added, “taxpayers end up bearing most of the cost.”
The campaign does not reimburse the government for the cost of flying Air Force One, but for the equivalent cost of flying the president and his staff first class on a commercial airline.
Indeed, Presidents Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, and on and on all used this same formula. Doherty says when it comes to presidents taking advantage of this billing technicality, each one exploits it more than his predecessor.
“If we were having this conversation 20 plus years ago, we’d be talking about George H.W. Bush’s record-breaking funds. Four years after that we would be talking about Bill Clinton and how he shattered George H.W. Bush’s records. Eight years later we’d be talking about George W. Bush eclipsing the fundraising pace that Bill Clinton set in his first term,” said Doherty.
“And now eight years later Barack Obama is breaking records that George W Bush set.”
So far the Obama campaign has reimbursed the government $1.5 million.Air Force One – known in the military as VC-25 – costs $179,750 per flight hour alone in fiscal year 2012, Maj. Michelle Lai of the 89th Airlift Wing told ABC News.
That figure includes fuel, flight consumables, depot level repairs, aircraft overhaul and engine overhaul. Pilot and airmen salaries are not included because they are paid regardless of the plane’s use, Lai said.
Obama’s trip to Florida and back today will cost at least $674,000 in Air Force One flight time alone.
His three-day, three-state swing that included two official events and eight fundraisers, netting more than $8 million last week, incurred flight costs of $2.1 million, based on the Air Force figure and flight times gathered from press pool reports.
As for how the proportion of that bill is broken down for Obama campaign to pay, experts say the law is murky and the practice of reimbursement somewhat “on your honor.”Read more @ http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/presidential-piggybacking-obama-trips-combine-official-political-business/story?id=15768474