The Big Think

July 31, 2012

Election Math

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 9:00 am

This is not meant to be a partisan post (I make enough of those already). It applies equally to both parties. I’m just curious about something.

Today the President is going to a Manhattan fundraiser that will be attended by 60 people who each pay $40,000 per plate (man, that’s gotta be some great chicken!). To accomplish this fundraiser, President Obama will fly in Air Force 1, with an AF1 backup, military escorts, a full motorcade (with its own air transport), local security, Secret Service, local preparation, traffic shutdown (with the accompanying negative economic impact), as well as all the other expenses associated with the difficult process of transporting a president from place to place. Those costs will be, as far as I know, at taxpayer expense. In return, the president’s campaign will receive $240,000 in donations.

So I’m wondering what the net income after expenses is? Is this a case of spending $500,000 in taxpayer money to gain $250,000 in campaign donations for one party? Even if the trip is done on the cheap and only costs $100,000 or so (a number I have a hard time believing is much lower), doesn’t it seem wasteful?

Again, I’m not trying to say that the Pres. is doing anything that other president’s haven’t done. I’ve just always thought that there’s something wrong with traveling around at taxpayer expense in order to raise money for one candidate’s campaign.

I’m honestly open to input here and can’t figure this out. If the campaigns pay for travel expenses (which means, ultimately, that the attendees of these shindigs are paying for it indirectly), then I see no problem here. If presidents come up with flimsy “official” reasons to attend a specific location and just happen to have a fundraiser there at the same time, that just seems transparently lame. If they’re charging taxpayers and pocketing the cash they make, that seems rather unethical and something the government might have a problem with if it were done in private industry.

Powered by WordPress