(CNSNews.com) – After President Barack Obama delivers remarks in Texas about the need for immigration reform, he will head to Austin for two Democratic National Committee fundraising events.
Obama is scheduled to deliver remarks at a DNC event at 5:50 p.m. Mountain time at the Moody Theater in Austin, the state capital. A source close to the fundraising event said it was $1,000 per plate, but students could get in for $44 per plate. Then, at 7:25 p.m., Obama is scheduled to deliver remarks at another DNC event, this time in a private home. There was no information on this event.
The president announced he was running for re-election in April and spoke at a dozen DNC events last month. In many cases scheduled official speeches led up to the events.
When the president or vice president mixes official business with politics, they must follow policies established by the Department of Justice and the Federal Elections Commission during the Reagan administration. The immigration speech at the Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso is official business covered by the taxpayers.
According to the FEC, when a presidential or vice presidential candidate travels on the taxpayer’s dime for political purposes – such as the trips to the DNC events in Austin – they “pay the pro rata share of the fair market value of non-commercial flights.”
Reimbursement guidelines include payment of the “lowest unrestricted and nondiscounted first-class airfare in the case of travel between cities served by regularly scheduled first-class commercial airline service.” (See earlier story)
But even after reimbursement, taxpayers still cover about 97 percent of the cost for a political trip of Air Force Once, according to a 2006 report by minority Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
The report estimated the cost of Air Force One travel at $56,518 per hour to taxpayers when the president travels, based on figures cited by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2000 and adjusted for inflation. The report stated that cargo planes accompanying Air Force One operate at an additional $6,960 per hour, again using the 2000 GAO figures, adjusted for inflation.